In this section we cover a wide-range of topics that do not necessarily fit into a specific category or region, and provide overviews, announcements, and scholarly reports relating to microfinance.  To read the latest surveys on microfinance topics by renowned organizations click here.


Global Microscope 2014.  The Economist Intelligence Unit annual survey  focuses on the enabling environment for financial inclusion, assessing the regulatory environment for financial inclusion across
12 indicators and 55 countries.  It notes that Peru, Colombia and the Philippines have the most conducive environments for financial inclusion; and East & South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa posted the highest scores for electronic payments.

The State of Microfinance Investment 2013. Published by Microrate, this year’s survey included 91 MIVs out of a total of 102 contacted.  Of those reporting, they have US$8.5 billion assets under management (AUM) or 95% of global AUM. The microfinance portfolio grew by 18% over the prior reporting period as of year-end 2011. Strongest growth was reported in Latin America (24%), followed by East Asia/Pacific (23%).

Global microfinance on the microfinance business environment (2012). The Economist Intelligence Unit published findings on the microfinance business environment in 55 countries.  The report compares countries and regions across 2 categories:  Regulatory Framework and Practices, and Supporting Institutional Framework.

Microfinance Institution Tier Definitions.  A white paper by MicroRate (2013) that  proposes a three-tier structure that applies three simpe indicators: sustainability (return on assets, RoA), size (total assets in U.S. dollars) and transparency (level of regulation/reporting).

The Economist Intelligence Unit, Global microfinance on the microfinance business environment 2012.  The 4th annual report outlines the findings of the Unit’s in-depth analysis of the microfinance business environment in 55 countries. It covers 2 broad categories based on regulatory framework and practices, examining regulatory and market-entry conditions.

Asia Development Bank -Microfinance Development Strategy 2000: Sector Performance and Client Welfare.  Since  2000, ADB has provided $2.8 billion to support microfinance activities in 21 developing member countries (DMCs).  This study(2012) shows that ADB’s support has been relevant and responsive to the sector.

CGAP – Financial Access 2011.  Financial Access studies highlight benefits of better product design with a focus on supply-side data. Latest findings from randomized evaluations of microfinance. (2012)

Integrated Health and Microfinance in India. (2012) A report on harnessing the strengths of two sectors to improve health and alleviate poverty.

Diamonds are no longer forever. (2012) Publication on the change in the “diamonds” rating system used by the US-based nonprofit Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX).

87 MFIs Earn 2011 Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX) Social Performance Reporting Award. 

Getting Beyond the Crisis- Exploring Practitioner Perspectives on the Critique of Microfinance:  (2011). From the Banking with the Poor Network.  The article explores recent criticisms of the microfinance industry drawing on the opinions of the BWTP practitioners.

MIX Brings Social Performance to the Forefront of Microfinance. (2011)  To measure an MFI’s overall performance, social performance management— the process of ensuring that an MFI acts in a socially responsible manner— has emerged as a critical factor.

Banks Making Big Profits from Tiny Loans.  A raft of banks now dominate microlending, giving small loans to poor people became the darling of the development world, with some charging interest rates of 100 percent or more.

Islamic Microfinance Helpdesk. Established by AlHuda-CIBE with the objective to provide the technical and Shariah guidance to the local and international micro-finance institutions in the transition process of conventional micro-finance structure into Shariah compliant micro-finance or establish new Islamic Microfinance institutions/divisions.
Co-operatives as the Key to Responsible Microfinance The existence of co-operative based microfinance is rare and may provide remedy to the existing problems in the microfinance industry.

Microfinance CEO Working Group:  Road Map for the Microfinance Industry: Focusing on Responsible and Client-Centered Microfinance.  The press release outlines a shared approach to the future of microfinance.

What is Responsible Finance?   An overview of a guiding principle for how financial services should be delivered to live up to the challenge of promoting sustainable development.

IDB fuels impact investing in Latin AmericaMore than $110 million of impact investing resources were mobilized by the IDB over the past 18 months to finance profitable projects that bring about social change.

Impact Investing Creates Template for Responsible Capitalism. (2012).  Impact investors seek to combine the seemingly conflicting aims of investing for maximum risk-adjusted returns and contributing to social good.

Global microscope on the microfinance business environment 2011 (2012). An index and study by the Economist Intelligence Unit, examines supporting the institutional framework, political stability, and regulatory framework and practices in 55 countries.

Luxembourg Fund Labeling Agency (LuxFLAG) Awards First Microfinance Label to Azure Global Microfinance Fund, responsAbility Financial Inclusion Fund. (2012) With more than USD 400 million under management the three funds are the Green for Growth Fund ? Southeast Europe, Lux?Equity Eco Global and Parvest? Environmental Opportunities.

Economic-Strengthening Pathways for the Bottom Billion: Connecting the Dots E-Consultation Discussion Synthesis. (2012). Participants started to lay a foundation for a common conceptual framework for economic strengthening, revealing relevant entry points for different interventions and services along a pathway from extreme poverty to economic self-reliance.

Crowdfunding Platforms: To Each Their Own.(2012) Two models of crowdfunding platforms used in microfinance: (a) a microlending model wherein money collected from a “crowd of people” is managed by local intermediaries; and (b) a peer-to-peer lending model.

Murabaha Pilot Report by Farz  Foundation (2011-2012). The project aimed to develop and test need based products, an inclusive Islamic microfinance methodology and MFI which could demonstrate Shariah compliant microfinance with Islamic trade structures and innovation.  Highlights of findings.

Role Reversal Revisited: Are public development institutions still crowding out?  Development financial institutions (DFIs) are actively competing with private microfinance funds(MIVs) and harming the flow of private investment into the microfinance .

Potential Microfinance clients are categorically rejecting products that do not comply with Islamic principles. 44% of conventional Microfinance clients reside in Muslim countries, etc. (2012).

Financial Services for the Poor:  Reflections on 2011.  A CGAP overview: 2011 saw progress in five important areas: better understanding demand,  advancing the imperative of responsible delivery, capturing the opportunities from business model innovation,benefiting from enabling policies and regulation, and deepening the consensus on the broader benefits of access to financial services.

Insight into the Impact Investment Market.  Research report (2011) released by J.P. Morgan and the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) and finds that investors’ expectations for financial returns range from concessionary to market-beating.

Latest Findings from Randomized Evaluations of Microfinance. This research paper examines how randomized evaluations identify how financial services for the poor really works, which are useful in designing products and delivery to meet their needs.

From Grants to Commercial Funding.    Should be focused on tackling development projects.  MicroEnsure serves 3.1 million poor, but is is a sustainable business without grant funding?

Growing microfinance: Going beyond conventional banking.  Exploring microfinance in sub-Saharan Africa.

Weathering the Storm: Hazards, Beacons, and Life Rafts – Case Studies. From the Center for Financial Inclusion (ACCION),  report on Lessons in Microfinance Crisis Survival highlights issues, challenges and solutions addressed by microfinance institutions, ranging from governance to liquidity to loan collections.

Legal Focus: Microfinance and Secured Transactions Reforms.  The World Bank and the United Nations have provided detailed, technical recommendations to low- and middle-income countries on secured transactions laws.

Opportunities and Obstacles to Financial Inclusion- Survey Report. As the microfinance industry is re-examining its role, participants in the industry recognize the importance of moving beyond credit to an evolved vision of financial inclusion that promotes access to a range of services.

Glossary of Microfinance Terms

Asset and Liability Management for Deposit-Taking Microfinance Institutions.  Addressing risk management issues relating to help determine the appropriate balance between risk and reward for microfinance institutions.

Global microscope on the microfi nance business environment 2010. An index and study by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

European Microfinance Platform: Networking with the South (Spring 2011)

Big Trouble for Microfinance (The Economist, 12/2/2010)

Microfinance Under Scrutiny (The Economist, 11/18/2010)

Global Microscope of the microfinance business environment (The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2009)

Guardian Focus Podcast: Does microfinance help people escape poverty?

Why has Islamic Microfinance Not Reached Scale Yet? This paper examines the reasons why poor Muslims in the world do not have access to financial services on a scale that reflects the size of the poor Muslim populations; and describes available Islamic financing instruments.


Resource of annual surveys and reports.