Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 27 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the impact of microfinance—the provision of financial services to poor and low-income populations, usually in the global South—on poverty. Microfinance is regarded as a financial market solution to the social problem of poverty, promising poverty alleviation in a market-friendly and cost-efficient way. Proponents hope that the financial inclusion of poor and low-income population segments will help them cope better with multifaceted problems of poverty, in particular their uncertain and low incomes. This article first provides an overview of microfinance, focusing on its economic and gender impacts, before tracing the microfinance sector’s historical origins and rise. It also considers the practices of the microfinance sector as well as the critical debates over microfinance. Finally, it describes three sets of recent developments relating to microfinance: a spate of crises including overindebtedness and collapse, new methods and mission, and the sector’s expanding scope of activities.

Keywords: microfinance, financial services, poverty, poverty alleviation, financial inclusion, gender, microfinance sector, overindebtedness

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.