The Microfinance Industry: Revolution or Footnote?

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Will microfinance respond and adapt to the evolving financial inclusion landscape, or is it yesterday’s solution, to be supplanted by more cutting edge, “impactful” initiatives? These are the questions to be discussed at an upcoming workshop, “The Microfinance Industry: Revolution of Footnote? Lessons for the Next Ten Years,” that Grassroots is helping organize.

Hosted by the Martindale Center at Lehigh University and co-sponsored by Calmeadow Foundation and the Center for Financial Inclusion, this gathering will bring together 25-30 practitioners and analysts from the microfinance and the financial inclusion, impact investing and academic communities. With a view towards sketching out the way forward for microfinance and impact investing more broadly, participants will extract lessons from regional developments, the potential of fintech as an instrument of financial inclusion, the role of new entrants, and the successes and failures of microfinance’s thirty year path to becoming the leading impact investing sector focused on low income populations around the world. The workshop will be held March 30 to April 1, and the key findings will inform a paper to be circulated and presented in the microfinance and impact investing communities in the summer and fall of 2017.