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Solutions for Financial Inclusion: Serving Rural Women
by Women's World Banking in 2011
World Region: Global
More than thirty years ago, microfinance swept through Asia and Latin America with the promise of empowerment for poor people through access to affordable financial services. These economic tools would allow them to invest in small businesses, save for their future and work their way out of poverty. Microfinance has provided basic financial services to millions across these regions, first through credit and now increasingly through a full suite of financial services including savings, insurance and pension funds. In Bangladesh, arguably the cradle of microfinance, more than 35 percent of the poor are accessing microcredit, and South Asia as a whole has penetration rates of approximately 11 percent, followed by Latin America with seven percent. Despite this progress millions of people remain without the ability to finance small businesses or build an economic safety net, but the industry is maturing, stabilizing and continuing to innovate in order to accommodate this unmet demand.