In a recent video I presented the definition of microfinance given by professor Tony Sheldon at Yale University and which I really like:
Microfinance is financial services for the poor.
Period. That’s it. Succinct and to the point, it doesn’t fall into the trap of ambiguities nor offuscate with arbitrary complexities something that can be (and should be) as straightforward as this.
Now, of course a definition is not the starting point in the exploration of any topic (unless perhaps it’s mathematics) and might not clarify things. But I think it gives us enough material to start wondering:
1) Who are we talking when we are saying “the poor”?
2) What do you mean by “financial services”?
3) Why would poor people care about those financial services?
4) Can microfinance backfire and end up hurting the poor?
5) Is this idea old or new?
6) Should governments be involved?
7) Is this the same thing as microcredits?
8) Will we erradicate poverty with microfinance?
9) Is there anything to improve?
10) Why should I care about all this?