Gary Gardner Tuesday, July 22nd 2008
The number of “microborrowers” worldwide increased by 17 percent in 2006, according to data from the Microcredit Summit Campaign, continuing double-digit annual growth that averaged some 29 percent annually between 2001 and 2006.1 (See Figure 1.) The global loan portfolio of the 340 microfinance institutions (MFIs) tracked by the Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX) also grew rapidly in 2006, at some 34 percent.2 (See Table 1.) The galloping advance of microcredit is increasing pressure on many MFIs to become more sophisticated and commercially oriented in their operations—at the expense, some analysts fear, of their original mission of poverty reduction.3
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