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Annual Report

Annual Report > 2013 Online Report  > Stories of Impact 

Reaching the Poor Through Financial Institutions

India's Rural Women

Our network of more than 900 financial institutions allows us to expand opportunity for millions.

Constance Adae’s small shop burned to the ground in Accra. Seeing her business wiped out overnight, she feared the worst—not knowing how to recover her lost income or repay her loans. 

Adae didn’t know it then, but she had insurance built into the loan that financed her business. 

Modest payouts arranged by IFC client MicroEnsure enabled Ghana’s Vanguard Assurance to send Adae a rapid settlement. She was able to reopen her shop—which sells plastic containers—after only a brief interruption. 

Innovative solutions have the potential to narrow the access-to-finance gap in emerging markets, which is still large. More than 2 billion adults don’t have access to savings accounts or credit, and 200 million small and medium businesses lack access to credit. 

Backed by financing from us, MicroEnsure is now partnering with mobile operator Telenor to use its technology platforms as distribution channels to take financial services to even more low-income individuals in Africa and Asia. Its client base is expected to reach 11 million people by 2017, up from 4 million today. 

To establish and maintain inclusive financial systems, IFC has built up a network of intermediaries—more than 900 financial institutions operating in over 100 developing countries. It allows us to support far more micro, small, and medium enterprises than we would be able to on our own. It also enables us to reach sectors that are strategic priorities but often lack private sector capital—for example, women-owned businesses or underserved regions such as conflict-affected states. 

In 2012, our financial-intermediary clients provided more than $265 billion in loans to micro, small, and medium enterprises. 

In Haiti, we joined forces with the Microinsurance Catastrophe Risk Organisation, or MiCRO, in a $2 million project that is expected to provide affordable insurance to help 70,000 women micro entrepreneurs protect their livelihoods against earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters. 

Beyond direct investments in financial intermediaries, IFC has also played a catalytic role in expanding access to financial services—by improving access to credit information, promoting best practices in risk management, and introducing environmental and social standards. 

We helped Vietnam develop an online registration system that tracks which movable collateral—such as machinery or vehicles—has been pledged by borrowers to secure their loans. As a result, banks can better assess lending risks, allowing small enterprises without land to obtain loans more easily.

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BILLION ADULTS DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO SAVINGS ACCOUNTS OR CREDIT.

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