MICROFACTS:
Data Snapshots on Microfinance

In Africa, women account for more than 60 per cent of the rural labour force and contribute up to 80 per cent of food production, yet receive less than 10 per cent of credit provided to farmers.
The World Bank estimates at there are now over 7000 microfinance institutions, serving some 16 million poor people in developing countries. The total cash turnover of MFIs world-wide is estimated at US$2.5 billion and the potential for new growth is outstanding.
There is concern that official assistance will be diverted from vital primary care aid programmes such as health, water projects and education into MFIs, owing to their popularity among donors.
Though women appear to benefit most, studies indicate that many loans awarded to and paid back by women are in fact used by men.
The widely-imitated Grameen Bank in Bangladesh aims to provide credit to those in extreme poverty. Some 94 per cent of those who meet the bank's criteria and take up loans are women. Grameen borrowers keep up repayments at a rate of around 98 per cent. The Bank lends US$30 million a month to 1.8 million needy borrowers.
Savings are important both as a vital safety net for the poor and as a source of funding that does not rely on external sources. Many strong MFIs, notably in Africa, recycle the savings of needy clients as a principal source of loan funds for their customers.
The Microcredit Summit estimates that US$21.6 billion is needed to provide microfinance to 100 million of the world's poorest families. The Summit planners say it should be possible to raise US$2 billion from borrowers' savings alone. The final figure may be even higher.
Studies have shown that during an eight year period, among the poorest in Bangladesh with no credit service of any type, only 4 percent pulled themselves above the poverty line. But with individuals and families with credit from Grameen Bank, more than 48% rose above the poverty line.
It is estimated that worldwide, there are 13 million microcredit borrowers, with USD 7 billion in outstanding loans, and generating repayment rates of 97 percent. It has been growing at a rate of 30 percent annual growth.
Fewer than 2 per cent of poor people have access to financial services (credit or savings) from sources other than money lenders.
Under 10 million of the 500 million people who run micro and small enterprises have access to financial support for their businesses.
There is a potential demand for microcredit services from seven million borrowers.

There is a potential demand for microsavings services from 19 million savers.

The world's seven richest men could wipe out global poverty. Their combined wealth is more than enough to provide the basic needs of the poorest quarter of the world's people.

Abstracted from various sources. Do you have any data snapshots to share? Please send them to Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org


Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org
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