Inclusive finance has been a key component of MEDA’s mission since its inception over 60 years ago. As an early pioneer of microcredit in the 1960s and 1970s, MEDA offered microloans in agricultural sectors in Africa and Latin America. Maintaining its mission through the decades, MEDA has supported the development of many microfinance institutions through capacity building, investment or transfer of loan capital, and ongoing governance support. Today, MEDA’s financial services programming ranges from savings groups to a full complement of innovative approaches to microfinance services and SME banking.
MEDA’s approach to financial inclusion includes both access to and use of services – where financial inclusion is not defined solely by opening a bank account, using a transactional instrument, or taking a loan. Once accessed, a financial service must enable targeted communities to improve their earning capacity, provide security for their savings, and increase their ability to manage their financial lives. MEDA works with a variety of stakeholders to reach vulnerable populations by designing and deploying appropriate products and services for women, men, and youth while upholding a client-centered approach that focuses on strengthening supply and demand, product design, and using capital to reach underserved markets.
Strong institutions – community level associations, microfinance institutions, SME banks and other non-banking financial institutions – are critical for the development of sustainable and inclusive financial systems. MEDA offers technical assistance, training and coaching to realize this supply-side goal. On the client side, we assess needs and barriers, and achieve greater inclusion by enhancing awareness, improving financial literacy, and promoting access to more appropriate products and services.