As followers of UK political news will be aware, the party conference season has recently concluded. As the major parties return to Westminster after their trips to Brighton (Lib Dems), Birmingham (Conservatives) and Manchester (Labour), this RESULTS blog post reviews remarks made by the UK’s key decision makers about microfinance and on increasing access to financial services.
The Liberal Democrats kicked off their conference in Brighton on the 22nd of September, reiterating their support for legislation that would require all future UK governments to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income on overseas development assistance. As previously discussed on the RESULTS blog, enshrining this commitment into law would help the world’s poorest people and ensure a guaranteed funding flow to aid making the UK a world leader in this area.
Regarding microfinance specifically, 2010 Dods ‘Female MP of the Year‘ Annette Brooke MP spoke at a conference fringe session about her interest in microfinance and the potential for increased access to financial services to relieve poverty. As the founder of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Microfinance, for which RESULTS hosts a secretariat, Ms Brooke is familiar with the changes to people’s lives that microfinance can bring, though she also spoke of the need to better measure the impact of microfinance. Ms Brooke also discussed the importance of ensuring that microfinance continues to serve poor people’s needs rather than simply becoming a means of generating profits. In this regard she pointed to the 2010 crisis in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh as evidence of the terrible consequences that can result from a failure to supervise microcredit organisations in competitive markets. Continue reading
Posted in Department for International Development, Microfinance, News
Tagged 0.7%, Annette Brooke, Annette Brooke MP, APPG Microfinance, APPG on Microfinance, Conservative, Conservative Party, David Cameron, Justine Greening, Justine Greening MP, Labour, Labour Party, legislation, Liberal Democrat Party, Liberal Democrats, Microfinance, Party Conference, Prime Minister
Houses of Parliament
In the ten years since it was established, the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Microfinance (APPG)* has been working to advance the understanding of microfinance amongst UK parliamentarians and to promote good practice in the UK’s support for microfinance around the world. The APPG provides a forum for its membership (made up of MPs and Peers) to learn about microfinance and to engage with representatives of microfinance institutions, investors, academics and other stakeholders in the global microfinance sector. The APPG is currently looking into the structures employed in developing countries to regulate and supervise microfinance, and they would like to hear the views of individuals and organisations that have an interest in this subject.
The 5th session of the Global Microcredit Summit took place last week in Valladolid (Spain). The event, organized by the Microcredit Summit Campaign gathered more than 2 thousand delegates from more than 100 countries, who shared a willingness to discuss ideas and experiences related to microfinance as well as look for solutions to the main challenges in the field. Although RESULTS UK was not able to attend this year’s session, many staff from other international RESULTS organisations took part in the meeting. With so much of the summit available over the internet, we would like to offer our reflections on what we saw as some of the key sessions.
Since November 2010 the APPG on Microfinance has been undertaking an inquiry into the role of microfinance in tackling extreme poverty and the way in which donors such as the UK Government should seek to contribute to the microfinance field. On Wednesday 8th June the final report on the inquiry will be launched at an event from 12:30-1:30 in the House of Commons, hosted by Madeleine Bunting, columnist and associate editor for the Guardian newspaper. Full details of the event are available here. Continue reading
The APPG on Microfinance hears from experts in funding of the microfinance sector
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Microfinance held its final microfinance evidence session last Monday. The APPG’s secretariat is hosted by RESULTS UK and the group has since November been holding an inquiry into the poverty reducing capabilities of microfinance. The oral evidence sessions are designed to engage with a wide variety of voices in order to gauge opinions on some of the most pressing issues currently facing the sector.
This final evidence session was aimed at questioning those who represent funders or have expertise on the role of funders of microfinance. The speakers included Sukhwinder Arora (Oxford Policy Management), Marcus Fedder (Agora Microfinance) and Chris Bold (CGAP- teleconferencing in from Washington DC). The session was chaired by Annette Brooke MP, Chair of the APPG on Microfinance.
Like previous evidence sessions the topics addressed were varied and the conversation lively. We heard responses on issues such as microfinance regulatory reform, the importance of innovation, the potential of microfinance in fragile states and the relative responsibility of funders to ensure consumer protection. Continue reading
Posted in Microfinance
Tagged Agora Microfinance, Andhra Pradesh, Annette Brooke MP, APPG, APPG on Microfinance, CGAP, Chris Bold, funding, Inquiry, Marcus Fedder, Microcredit, Microfinance, Oxford Policy Management, Regulation, RESULTS, Sukhwinder Arora
On Tuesday, as part of the evidence gathering process for the APPG on Microfinance’s current inquiry into the impact of microfinance on poverty, the APPG held the second of its three oral evidence sessions, led by the Vice-Chair of the APPG, Stephen Lloyd MP. The APPG Secretariat is provided by RESULTS and we have been supporting the inquiry throughout.
This session was split into two parts. The first, focused on the implementation of microfinance programmes, saw an expert panel including Maude Massu (CARE International), Rosalind Copisarow (soon to be the new CEO of Oikocredit) and Roger Witcomb (Opportunity International). The second part of the session was an opportunity for the APPG parliamentary members and external attendees to question Claire Innes of the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) on their approach to microfinance. Continue reading
Posted in Microfinance
Tagged APPG on Microfinance, CARE International, DFID, Microcredit, Microfinance, MP, Oikocredit, Opportunity International, Poverty, RESULTS, Stephen Lloyd MP, Village savings and loan associations
As you will have seen from previous posts, the APPG on Microfinance (which RESULTS supports) is holding an inquiry looking at how Donors and the UK Government should seek to contribute to the microfinance field, with a particular focus on how microfinance tackles poverty. The APPG plans to provide recommendations to the Department for International Development (DFID) based on its findings.
Anyone who would like to contribute is very welcome to make a submission – details are on the APPG website. The final deadline for submissions is next Friday the 14 January 2011.
Over the past 30 years, the microfinance sector has grown and diversified massively. There are now many different actors providing financial services to the world’s poor. Some institutions focus on tackling poverty through microfinance, where others have a stronger focus on profits – and most microfinance institutions fall somewhere between the two extremes. The variation in microfinance models has led to increasing debate about the ultimate aims of microfinance; who it should target and how it should be administered.
RESULTS UK hosts the Secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Microfinance. This group is concerned with how microfinance might be used to reduce poverty among the global poor. As part of the APPG’s work in 2011, they are conducting an inquiry in order to tackle the questions that have arisen from this diversification, in particular, whether microfinance institutions need to be intentional about improving the welfare of their clients in order to have an impact on poverty alleviation. It will look at the the way in which Donors and the UK Government should seek to contribute to the microfinance field and provide recommendations to the Department for International Development (DFID) based on its findings. Continue reading
As RESULTS activists heard back in October, rising temperatures and shifting rain patterns due to climate change are impacting farming systems across the world. The impact is especially felt by smallhold farmers who work small plots of land, often providing the only food and income their family has access to. When crops fail due to adverse weather conditions, most small farmers are forced to go hungry and to sell their assets simply to survive, deepening their poverty.
Fluctuations in the environment, combined with the rise of large scale environmental disasters, has led to the introduction of microinsurance schemes. These are aimed at providing a safety net to individuals who would ordinarily be forced to hardships, such as drought, alone.
Two weeks in advance of the United Nations Climate Change conference in Cancun, three All-Party Parliamentary Groups came together in Parliament yesterday to learn how microinsurance programmes work and the potential for making such adaptation techniques more widely available to the world’s poor. Continue reading
Posted in Climate Change, Microfinance
Tagged APPG, APPG Food and Agriculture for Development, APPG on Microfinance, Climate Change, Crop insurance, Farmers, Kerry McCarthy MP, microensure, Microinsurance, Oxfam
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Microfinance will be hosting a debate to discuss the effectiveness of microfinance in eradicating poverty on 19th October 2010 at the House of Commons, London.
Microfinance has been hailed as an effective and sustainable tool to combat poverty. However, recent studies have challenged the extent to which microfinance can really lift people out of poverty and whether it is really having the impact that its supporters propose. Continue reading