to repay loans made at unsubsidized rates of interest.This article argues that credit and savings services for the poor are provided on a scale appropriate to the market (loans and savings services in the range of $15–$1,000) on a sustainable basis (high recoveries,
high mobilization of savings on a break-even or profitable basis), then the clients themselves have proven that the service is justified. A distinctive and universal characteristic of these programmes, however, is that it may take some years of operation before these programmes achieve a critical
mass of operations which allows them to be self-sustaining financial entities. This is where donor and government support can play a critical promotional role. Finally, this paper suggests that if the early indications of success throughout the world continue, with appropriate support from
donors and governments, it is conceivable that hundreds of millions of clients could be benefiting from these services by the end of the decade.