A recent article on the CGAP Microfinance Blog, which is operated by US-based think tank CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), examines the outcome of a discussion on information initiatives in strengthening the microfinance industry that was recently held by CGAP and the Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX), a US-based nonprofit. At the event, which was held in Nepal, representatives of microfinance organizations from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Nepal discussed the following efforts: 1)Annual state of the sector reports such as the Pakistan Microfinance Network’s (PMN’s) Pakistan Microfinance Review, ACCESS Development’s India: A State of the Sector Report, and rating agency M-CRIL’s Microfinance Analytics Report ; 2)Access mapping such as Microfinance Investment Support Facility for Afghanistan’s (MISFA’s) monthly performance reports, PMN’s Micro WATCH in Pakistan and Sa-Dhan’s Microfinance Map of India; and 3)Interest rate transparency such as the report on India from US-based nonprofit MFTransparency.
The discussions led to the following conclusions: data that facilitates better understanding of clients and their needs should be prioritized; reliable data and transparency are essential in facilitating policy dialogue; a credible agency in each country, such as the central bank, should be responsible for driving data and policy; data and information should be presented so that it caters to the country-specific agenda of poverty alleviation or financial inclusion; and that the unique political environment of each country is crucial in understanding microfinance landscapes.
By Medha Ravi, Research Associate
About CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor):
Housed at the World Bank Group, CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) is an independent policy and research center dedicated to facilitating the provision of financial access to poor people worldwide. CGAP is supported by approximately thirty development agencies and private foundations. Its mission is to provide market intelligence, to promote standards and to offer advisory services to governments, microfinance providers, donors and investors.
About Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX):
Established in 2002, Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX) is a nonprofit organization with headquarters in Washington, DC, and regional offices in Peru, Senegal, India and Indonesia. MIX provides detailed financial and social performance information from microfinance institutions (MFIs), as well as business information from market facilitators, donor organizations and investors in microfinance. MIX was founded by CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) and is sponsored by Citi Foundation, Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Source and Resources:
CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) Microfinance Blog, “Can Industry Data and Transparency Strengthen Microfinance?”, http://microfinance.cgap.org/2011/04/25/can-industry-data-and-transparency-strengthen-microfinance/
MicroCapital.org story, February 15, 2011, “MICRPCAPITAL BRIEF: CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) Explores Over-Indebtedness in Microfinance Through New Blog Series”, http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-cgap-consultative-group-to-assist-the-poor-explores-over-indebtedness-in-microfinance-through-new-blog-series/
MicroCapital.org story, April 25, 2011, “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) Explores Savings On Microfinance Blog”, http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-cgap-consultative-group-to-assist-the-poor-explores-savings-on-microfinance-blog/
MicroCapital Microfinance Universe Profile: CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=CGAP+%28Consultative+Group+to+Assist+the+Poor%29
MicroCapital Microfinance Universe Profile: Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX), http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=Microfinance+Information+Exchange+%28MIX%29
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