Technology and Microfinance


Microfinance has experienced the highs and lows of public perception over the last twenty years. From Mohammad Yunus’ Nobel Peace Prize to the controversy of overly-indebted borrowers, it has been both celebrated as the key to poverty alleviation and condemned as a tool to enforce a global economic hierarchy that keeps poor countries poor. As with most issues, the truth is more nuanced than the headlines would imply.

We believe that microfinance is a powerful tool to democratize access to the sort of financial services that can help people lift themselves out of poverty, alleviate the crushing burden of unexpected events and slowly build, and preserve, wealth over time. Employed wisely, microfinance is one of the only tools that is scalable at the base of the pyramid, and applicable across nearly every country on earth.

And like all industries, it is evolving rapidly. One of the most interesting forces in the developed world has been the intersection of technology and lending. That force is now beginning to play out in microfinance, primarily around the subject of mobile banking. To help understand this potentially revolutionary intersection, and to answer a set of key questions, we asked experts in the microfinance field to gather for a roundtable discussion. During this 30-minute inaugural roundtable discussion, these experts debate the future of microfinance through a technology lens. We hope you enjoy the exploration as much as we did.

Read the full transcript.

Here are the participant’s bios:
Janine Firpo
Christina Juhasz
Jennifer McDonald
Gil Crawford