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Financial services tailored to the needs of poor people contribute to poverty alleviation, social justice, quality of life and human dignity. At a societal level, these services also contribute to the economic growth and stability of emerging markets. For these reasons, microfinance has emerged as a leading strategy in sustainable economic development.

For years, the pioneers of microfinance have been leading the movement to expand access to finance. These organizations, mostly nonprofits or specialized financial institutions, embrace poverty alleviation and enterprise development at the core of their mission. Thanks to their success, private-sector players are now moving into the industry at an unprecedented pace, bringing with them enormous resources and potential for growth. With financial inclusion gaining this kind of momentum, we are on the brink of a new era in which economic opportunity for the poor will become more fully integrated into financial markets worldwide.

At this juncture, ACCION International is launching the Center for Financial Inclusion, a collaborative effort to advance the commercial model of microfinance while upholding the interests and needs of poor clients worldwide.

The Center will work with a wide variety of actors – microfinance experts, banks, investors, regulators, technology firms, universities and others – to address challenges related to financial inclusion. Center staff will collaborate with experts across industries – many of whom have not yet applied their strengths to microfinance or worked at the same table – to develop solutions that enhance the lives of the world’s poor. Research, events and field-piloting will focus on areas such as the double bottom line, microfinance investing, and product and process breakthroughs.

The Center’s goal is to connect the microfinance community with the major drivers of the global economy – e.g. capital markets and technology – and harness their capabilities to address the financial needs of poor people. By bringing these elements together, the Center for Financial Inclusion will serve as a bridge between today’s microfinance and a future of economic opportunity for all.

Major Focus Areas:The Center for Financial Inclusion has identified three interrelated focus areas that will be supported by an integrated Publications and Outreach team: Double Bottom Line, Investing in Inclusive Finance and Client-Product Connection. Learn more >

How the Center Will Work:The Center will serve as a portal for active, outcome-focused collaboration among the microfinance community and the private sector. Learn more >

> Learn more about the Center for Financial Inclusion