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> Posted by Sebastian Groh, Project Manager, MicroEnergy International

The Financial Inclusion 2020 project at the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion is building a movement toward full financial inclusion by 2020. Accordingly, this blog series will spotlight financial inclusion efforts around the globe, share insights coming out of the creation of a roadmap to full financial inclusion, and highlight findings from research on the “invisible market.”

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently called upon the international community to commit to a new groundbreaking initiative seeking Sustainable Energy for All (SE4A) by the year 2030. At MicroEnergy International (MEI) we have been working towards this goal since 2002 by supporting microfinance institutions (MFIs) in the process of developing and providing “green microloans,” financial products that help clients finance a renewable or efficient energy system for their home or business. Our work is based on the fundamental belief that the relationship between energy inclusion and financial inclusion is a critical impact point that has positive effects on the poverty levels of low-income clients.

Perhaps the linkage isn’t immediately clear, so a few examples will help us explain.

Financial inclusion leads to energy inclusion. Access to finance can lead to energy inclusion simply in terms of affordability and financial means. People who have access to financial services are able to finance their basic energy needs and either pay for grid-supplied electricity or purchase a distributed energy generation system of their own. These systems have a prohibitive initial investment burden that usually cannot be covered by those at the base of the pyramid (BoP). Innovative green credit design allows clients to pay in monthly installments that correspond to their current expenditures on energy appliances and sources as well as potential savings and income generation opportunities. A scheme of that type has paid off for about two million Solar Home System users today in the country of Bangladesh, according to the World Bank’s IDCOL Solar Home Systems Project.

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> Posted by Jeffrey Riecke, Communications Assistant, CFI

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesian President and co-chair of the High Level Panel, and Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary General

A few days ago the U.N. High Level Panel submitted its final report to the U.N. Secretary General on recommendations for the global development agenda to replace the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) when they expire in 2015. The High Level Panel, comprised of 27 individuals spanning leaders from civil society, private sector, and government, developed the recommendations in broad consultation with governments, organizations, institutions, United Nations entities, and individuals. People from more than 5,000 civil society organizations as well as roughly 250 CEOs of major corporations participated in the process.

The vision of the agenda, as stated in the report, is to end extreme poverty in all its forms in the context of sustainable development and to have in place the building blocks of sustained prosperity for all. The agenda is organized into five transformational shifts, and includes recommendations on establishing goals that translate these priorities into measurable targets and recommendations on effectively implementing the agenda. A list of the five transformational shifts follows. Read the rest of this entry »

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Credit Suisse is a founding sponsor of the Center for Financial Inclusion. The Credit Suisse Group Foundation looks to its philanthropic partners to foster research, innovation and constructive dialogue in order to spread best practices and develop new solutions for financial inclusion.

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The views and opinions expressed on this blog, except where otherwise noted, are those of the authors and guest bloggers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center for Financial Inclusion or its affiliates.
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