Ensuring economic growth is broad based and reduces poverty has become a fundamental development challenge. In many countries, poor people cannot fully participate in, or enjoy the benefits of, economic growth. The poor , particularly poor women, in the developing world often lack access to safe places to keep their savings. They cannot obtain credit to start businesses or to grow their businesses or farms.
The poor often do not have basic services like insurance to protect themselves against drought and natural disasters. Small and very small firms owned by the poor often have little help in getting access to new technologies or business networks that could improve opportunities to sell their products.
Our programs enhance poor people’s access to financial services such as savings accounts and credit. These programs seek to:
- Improve the quality and affordability of financial services.
- Extend access to excluded populations such as women, the disabled, and those living in remote areas.
- Assist smallholder farmers and small business entrepreneurs in selling their products by linking them with buyers and suppliers of good and services.
These programs also help small businesses access new inputs, technology and services that lead to improved products that bigger businesses are looking to purchase. Center for Innovative and Pragmatic Development Initiative’s, micro-enterprise programs improve the lives of the very poor, helping them to: recover from shocks such as a flood or death in the family; protect themselves against risks such as illness or drought; and steady home food and family purchases so that they have the ‘breathing space’ that allows them to work to graduate themselves out of poverty.
Additionally, we are working with various agencies to broaden micro financing product offerings to include health, education, and energy, to meet the needs of the mass market. In our experience, microfinance, when offered with other services, improves household earnings.
Another major area of focus is expanding poor people’s access to financial services through mobile phone technology. Mobile money services help the poor reduce the cost of banking transactions and have been shown to increase savings. Along with developing these services, the Agency is working to support a robust regulatory environment to ensure users’ money is not put at risk.