Elisabeth Rhyne is the former Managing Director of the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI). An action-oriented think tank that engages and challenges the industry to better serve, protect, and empower clients, CFI develops insights, advocates on behalf of clients, and collaborates with stakeholders to achieve a comprehensive vision for financial inclusion. As Senior Vice President of Accion since 2000, Elisabeth led Accion’s initial entry into Africa and India, directed the organization’s research efforts to develop new financial products, and managed Accion’s publications and educational activities.
Recognized as a leading thinker and writer in the field of microfinance, Elisabeth has published numerous articles and four books on the topic, including Mainstreaming Microfinance: How Lending to the Poor Began, Grew and Came of Age in Bolivia (Kumarian Press, 2001). She was also co-editor of The New World of Microenterprise Finance (Kumarian, 1994), which provided the introduction to microfinance for many of the field’s current professionals.
Elisabeth was director of the Office of Microenterprise Development at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) from 1994 to 1998, where she developed and led USAID’s Microenterprise Initiative. While there, she contributed to the founding of the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) and the Boulder Institute of Microfinance. Elisabeth’s experience includes eight years of residence in Africa (Kenya and Mozambique) and independent consulting on microfinance policy and operations for governments, international organizations, and microfinance institutions.
Elisabeth holds a master’s and Ph.D. in public policy from Harvard University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history and humanities from Stanford University.