Tag Archives: Financial Services

UK government reviews aid programmes – what do we think?

Andrew Mitchell MPOn Tuesday Andrew Mitchell MP, Secretary of State for International Development announced the results of his Department’s multilateral and bilateral aid reviews. An overview of the results is available here. The reviews were established shortly after the Coalition Government was formed to look at all areas of the Department’s work and make recommendations for changes to make it more effective. The results are the most comprehensive overview we have yet seen of the Government’s approach to international development and therefore the announcement is an important milestone.

Overall RESULTS strongly welcomes the reviews. It is crucial that UK support for developing countries is focused on truly achieving results for poor people and supporting their own efforts to escape poverty. The top-line results that the Department has committed to delivering through both multilateral and bilateral channels over the next four years to 2015 are:

  • Secure schooling for 11 million children
  • Help vaccinate more children against preventable diseases than there are people in the whole of England
  • Provide access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation to more people than there are in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Save the lives of 50,000 women in pregnancy and childbirth
  • Stop 250,000 newborn babies dying needlessly
  • Support 13 countries to hold freer and fairer elections
  • Help 10 million more women get access to modern family planning
  • Provide 50 million people with the means to help work their way out of poverty [by providing them with access to financial services]
  • Stop 10 million more children going hungry
  • Help halve malaria deaths in 10 of the worst affected countries
  • Help millions of poor people protect their livelihoods from the impact of climate change.

Below we discuss the two reviews in more detail, and while we are broadly supportive of their contents we raise a few questions on specific decisions, as well as pointing out the need for further information on funding decisions and the specifics of country-level programmes. Continue reading

August conference call recording on microfinance in Africa available online

Last night we held our August conference call – click on the link to listen to a recording.  We were joined by Alexia Latortue, who is acting CEO of the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP).

Alexia gave a helpful overview of microfinance and how microfinance has evolved over the past few decades from the provision of microcredit alone to the creation of an entire financial system that serves the poor not only with loans but also with savings, payments and insurance services. Microfinance is used by the poor to manage their small and irregular cash flow in order to cope with seasonal events such as harvests, and unforeseen circumstances such as illnesses or funerals. Continue reading

Join in a discussion on microfinance for the poor

We had a very nice email today from Neha Sharma from TooStep inviting members of the RESULTS network to participate in an online discussion about microfinance for the poor.

Visit http://toostep.com/topic/financial-services-for-the-poor to share your views on issues including “What kind of financial services are required to help the poor?” and “Can microfinance eradicate poverty in India?”.

Women and Microfinance

As pointed out in our introductory post on International Women’s Day, it is estimated that 70% of the poorest people worldwide are women. Women accomplish two-thirds of the world’s working hours yet they only earn 10% of the world’s income and own less than 1% of the world’s property.

An extremely entrenched set of discriminatory attitudes and practices has fostered this situation and jeopardises any attempts at reversing the trend. Women in developing countries are thus trapped in a vicious circle of multiple discrimination related to gender and poverty; as a cause as well as a consequence, they are disproportionately excluded from access to economic resources in general and access to financial services in particular – access that would allow them to durably escape poverty.

Not only are these circumstances appallingly unjust and deserve to be tackled as such, but they also represent a colossal obstacle to development altogether.   Continue reading