Voices of Financial Inclusion: ‘It’s the Clients, Stupid’

> Posted by Center Staff
Beth Rhyne has a fresh article on the Huffington Post to mark the release of the Center’s new report, “Opportunities and Obstacles to Financial Inclusion.”
Financial inclusion is one of today’s development buzzwords. Policymakers and central bankers gather in forums like the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) and the G-20’s Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion to talk about how to build inclusive financial systems. Everyone wants to get in on the act. However, there is not much clarity about what financial inclusion really means, much less how to achieve it. And without that, how will we know we’re on the right track or recognize the destination when we arrive?
At the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, we would love to see the sector set a target for itself of full financial inclusion by the year 2020. To provoke the dialogue on this, we asked industry participants around the world to name the ten biggest opportunities and obstacles they see to financial inclusion. A total of 301 people from around the world answered the survey, including financial service providers, investors and members of supporting organizations, mainly from the microfinance sector. The results provide a deeply illuminating view of how the industry is currently thinking.
To sum up the survey’s main message, we are tempted to revise Bill Clinton’s famous campaign slogan and say, “It’s the clients, stupid.”
The survey reveals participants in microfinance striving to come to terms with two unsettling challenges to their achievements:
• First, as country after country experiences crises of client overindebtedness, microfinance institutions face unprecedented criticism. The anti-microfinance actions of the state government in Andhra Pradesh, India have shaken the whole Indian microfinance sector, with aftershocks throughout the global industry.
Click here to read the rest of the article on the Huffington Post.
For more information, sign up for updates from the Financial Inclusion 2020 campaign.
Have you read these Huffington Post articles by Beth Rhyne? 
Microfinance Leaders Strive to Walk the Walk
Three Secrets of Safe Microfinance
A Tale of Microfinance in Two Cities

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