Combined Micro-Finance: Selected Research Questions from a Stakeholder Point of View
There is a growing interest in combined micro-finance schemes delivering both micro-insurance and micro-credit products to provide a more comprehensive response to existing market failures often leading to a lack of access to financial services for excluded populations. Despite its increasingly widespread practice, the issue of combined micro-finance has received relatively little attention and various specific research questions remain underexplored such as: Does combining credit and insurance services improve or weaken overall organisational performance of micro-finance schemes?; Does the combining of micro-finance services lead to more inclusion or to more exclusion of the poor? and; Are combined micro-finance schemes enhancing or challenging donor effectiveness? This paper builds on a literature review and is a first conceptual attempt to bring forward the specific characteristics of combined micro-finance schemes. It argues for a more formative evaluation approach towards combining micro-finance schemes. Market dynamics and interventions of the key players and stakeholders of combined micro-finance should aim at becoming most efficient, allowing maximum socio-economic benefits and efficiency, taking into account the different challenges of reaching the poor.
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