The Microcredit Summit Campaign released its 17th annual survey of the global microfinance industry, "Mapping Pathways out of Poverty: The State of the Microcredit Summit Campaign Report, 2015." The report underscores the diverging trajectories between the total numbers reached with financial services and the financial inclusion of the extreme poor as a concerning trend in microfinance.
According to the report, the global microfinance community reached 211 million borrowers in 2013, 114 million of whom were living in extreme poverty (households living on less than $1.90 per day, PPP). While the microfinance community provided loans to the most clients since the Microcredit Summit Campaign began tracking this number in 1997, the number of poorest clients fell for the third straight year.
The report underscores the challenge that microfinance faces in realizing its original goal -- to alleviate poverty by providing quality microfinance services to the poorest segments of society. The authors of the report warn that "if financial services are meant to play an important part in bringing an end to extreme poverty [by 2030, as asserted by the World Bank], we will not come close to reaching it" without engaging in interventions that meet this challenge head-on.