Microfinance in Asia and the Pacific: what progress towards the Microcredit Summit goals?
The goal of the Microcredit Summit Campaign, launched in 1997, is to 'ensure that 100 million of the world's poorest families are receiving credit for self-employment and other financial and business services by the year 2005'. More than six years have passed, so what are the campaign's achievements and its weaknesses so far? This article examines the development of microfinance in Asia and the Pacific over the last six years. It also describes recent developments in the campaign's emblematic organization, the Grameen Bank. New models involving the participation of commercial banks are proving to be successful at scaling up microfinance to millions. However, some areas, such as the Pacific, may need models suitable for small scale and low population density. Local networks have the potential to help spread new methodologies and best practice.