In the world of international development, we think about the range of interventions that are needed to truly make a difference in the lives of the world’s poor. Certainly those interventions include health care, education, clean water, the rule of law,
and, we firmly believe, access to financial services.
Our vision is full financial inclusion. We help individuals build businesses and support their families. We help institutions attract investment and reach scale – and in doing so, we not only create great institutions but also inspire others to help develop a strong, competitive industry that, over time, will thrive and innovate to better serve the financial needs of the 2.5 billion people who live in poverty and lack access to financial services.
To build a financially inclusive world, we are helping to create and expand strong, clientfocused microfinance institutions all over the world. In addition to our ongoing work with MFIs in Latin America, Africa, India, and the United States, we are expanding financial inclusion in China and beyond – and, soon, even in Myanmar, one of the final frontiers of development.
The second pillar of our strategy centers on investment in innovation. We provide early- and seed-stage venture capital for start-up businesses developing transformational ways to meet the financial-services needs of the poor. In the next few pages, we have included highlights of the recent investments we have made through our Frontier Investments Group and Venture Lab initiatives.
The third pillar of our strategy recognizes that industry-wide challenges require industrywide solutions. In 2013 our Center for Financial Inclusion launched FI2020, an audacious, industry-wide initiative that sets 2020 as the focal point for rallying key leaders to work toward a common vision. Convening an expansive array of diverse players – mobile-network operators, banks, payment companies, retailers, insurance providers, regulators, tech startups, microfinance leaders, and more – FI2020 kicked off with a Global Forum in London late last year, all to help develop new alliances and chart the path toward full financial inclusion. We’re also proud to report that the Center’s Smart Campaign for consumer protection continues to grow. The Campaign has now been endorsed by more than 1,450 MFIs in 130 countries that collectively reach some 77 million clients – protecting them against overindebtedness, bad collection practices, opaque pricing, and more.
Through such initiatives a new world is starting to take shape, and we are privileged to be part of it. In our work we travel constantly, meeting clients. And every time we do, it is enormously humbling. We’re reminded that whatever challenges we face in our own lives, they are nothing compared to those faced by the people we serve. Our goal is to help them meet and overcome those challenges with strength, with dignity, and with the critical financial tools they need to help them succeed.
Thank you for your continued support.