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The Market Outlook 2012: Perspectives of Microfinance Association Leaders brings together the insights of 37 directors of microfinance associations (MFAs) from around the globe to provide a field-level perspective on the direction of microfinance worldwide over the next 12–18 months. The surveyed associations represent 4,743 microfinance institutions (MFIs) and 70 million clients, with a total collective loan portfolio of approximately US$21 billion.
The research for Market Outlook 2012 was sponsored by Citi Microfinance and carried out by the SEEP Network, with support from the Council of Microfinance Equity Funds.
Responsible development of microfinance markets depends in large part on the quality, availability, and utilization of information. Microfinance institutions, investors, and policy makers all depend on information in order to make decisions. SEEP has used the present Market Outlook as a platform for MFA leaders to share their perceptions of the most important priorities, threats, and risks for the microfinance sector in various countries worldwide.
MFAs have played a vital role in increasing the availability of information in the microfi nance industry in the last several years. The 64 associations that are members of the SEEP Network represent over 4,000 MFIs which serve over 100 million clients. The demand for information on the part of markets, institutions, and clients is growing exponentially as the industry matures. Microfinance associations are integral to achieving the vision of a mature microfi nance sector which offers transparent access to high-quality information. As member-based organizations, MFAs build the capacity of MFIs, promote consensus in defining industry standards, and serve as local repositories of information and knowledge for a wide spectrum of stakeholders, including policy makers, investors, and new service providers entering the market.
This report is not an in-depth study or research report on all issues affecting the microfinance sector—it is a summary of key priority issues identified by microfinance associations across the world. These associations are close to both practitioners and clients—their directors have first-hand experience of the successes and struggles of their member MFIs—and have a clear overview of their overall respective markets. As a result, the information that they provided for this report will be immensely useful for a variety of stakeholders (e.g., investors, donors, and academics), enabling them to understand crucial market changes, trends, risks, and priorities in the microfinance sector worldwide. In particular, the report provides a comparison of viewpoints and microfinance activities across countries and regions. It will serve as an important input for the upcoming Microfinance Banana Skins survey and report. In addition, other global initiatives related to microfinance client protection, financial inclusion, and responsible finance may benefit from the information summarized here.