One Funder Intrigued by New Ways to Finance Education in Poor Countries: Gates
The Gates Foundation’s Financial Services for the Poor program has the broad goal of providing access to digitally based financial products and services for the millions of unbanked adults in the world. In doing so, the foundation hopes to help give poor households “the opportunity to move out of poverty or absorb a shock without being pushed deeper into debt.” Gates’ financial inclusion model isn’t solely about getting poor countries to transition from a cash-based society to electronically based financial systems. There is also a big microfinance component of the foundation’s giving in this space.
Microfinance is a comparatively small component of Gates’ financial inclusion portfolio, which has awarded close to $950 million in grants since 2005. But we’re talking about Gates, so its microfinance grants still amount to a pretty good chunk of change. Of those investments, though, very few have gone to support microfinance models related to education.