This review will look broadly at microfinance services, including both credit and savings, taking a holistic view of the evidence (with consideration of non-comparative impact studies and qualitative data, and impacts beyond just income-related outcomes). It will focus specifically within the geographical scope of sub-Saharan Africa.
It will identify, and synthesise where possible, the available evidence addressing the following questions:
i. What studies have been done in SSA on the impact of microfinance on poor people?
ii. What did these studies find about:
a. The impact of microfinance on the incomes of the poor?
b. The impact of microfinance on wider poverty / wealth of the poor?
c. The impact of microfinance on other non-financial outcomes for the poor?
iii. What do the findings suggest about appropriately measuring the impact of microfinance on poor people?
iv. Are there variations in impacts of different types of microfinance, and what are these variations?
v. Are these variations in impacts on different groups of poor people, and what are these variations?
vi. Are there variations in impacts on individual/household, community, regional and national levels?
vii. If any, what variables are associated with the successful alleviation of poverty through microfinance?
EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London, London, UK, 33 pp.