Pairing access to finance and energy to solve global poverty
By Rupert Scofield
Beginning in the 1980s, microfinance emerged as a way to tackle the myriad challenges of poverty by focusing on financial inclusion. It was recognized that lack of access to basic financial services, such as a small loan, was preventing billions of people from raising their standard of living. As of 2017, 1.7 billion adults globally remain unbanked—down from 2.5 billion in 2011—and women and the poor are persistently the most likely to be excluded. To reinforce the importance of this issue, The World Bank set a goal of achieving universal financial inclusion, noting it is a gateway to ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity.
Poverty and prosperity are of course intertwined with access to basic services. In developing countries around the world, the poor are forced to survive without electricity, running water, sewer systems, quality education—the list goes on. In turns out that meaningful access to these and other basic services requires access to finance.
Photo courtesy of Ken Teegardin.