Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems
The MasterCard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa. As one of the largest, independent foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion in order to alleviate poverty. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by MasterCard when the Foundation was created in 2006. For more information, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org or follow us on Twitter @MCFoundation.
The Community Savings Funds (CSFs) promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture in Mexico seek to provide marginalized community groups with a simple mechanism that allows them to save and administer their own funds securely, efficiently, and profitably, according to their own needs and priorities. Specially trained promoters help set up CSFs for a period of one year—using a standardized Toolkit—after which they are expected to work autonomously. There are 540 CSFs in 12 states with over 12,800 members and savings totaling 4.45 million pesos (US 5445,000). This paper describes the characteristics of the CSF model and the results to date. It discusses implementation problems and issues of sustainability and growth in light of the new regulatory environment. It also debates the viability and desirability of autonomous savings and credit groups at the community level and the advantages and disadvantages of their inclusion into the formal financial sector.