As microfinance is increasingly being absorbed into broader debates on financial inclusion and sustainable development, there is a growing number of professionals operating in international relations and development who are often confronted with sweeping statements about the alleged benefits and risks of microfinance. This book provides a concise introduction to microfinance – the key issues, debates, research agenda and public policy relevance.

Illustrated by real-life examples, the book’s sections also highlight key publications and data sources and identify gaps for future research. The book will be an invaluable resource both for development economists and for scholars in neighbouring disciplines who need to get up to speed quickly on the current debates and research in microfinance.

chapter 1|6 pages


Common views and preconceived ideas

chapter 2|8 pages


A response to market failure

chapter 3|6 pages

The demand for microfinance

chapter 4|10 pages

Products and services

chapter 5|10 pages

Methods and techniques

chapter 6|21 pages

Microfinance institutions

chapter 7|8 pages

Investing in microfinance

chapter 8|7 pages


chapter 9|10 pages

Microfinance markets

chapter 10|22 pages

Public policy

chapter 11|13 pages


chapter 12|6 pages

What next?