The Microfinance Sector in Peru: Opportunities, Challenges and Empowerment with Gender Mainstreaming

Increasing access to financial products for women entrepreneurs
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This paper analyses current trends in microfinance entities and NGOs in Peru, examining cases of mergers, networking, consortia and transformation of NGOs into regulated financial institutions and banks. It highlights the importance of women as clients, in statistical terms as well as in the design of products and services.The paper examines microfinance's potential to empower women, progress made so far, challenges and opportunities that exist and strategy that needs to be followed. The study finds that:

  • Microfinance expansion has increased access to financial products for women entrepreneurs who start businesses as a strategy to meet living expenses;
  • More than half the recipients of loans for small businesses and microenterprises are women;
  • Several regulated MFIs are developing special products to incorporate new female clients;
  • MFIs' strategies, however, aim to increase portfolio coverage and depth, rather than promoting access and empowerment of women;
  • Challenges include lack of monitoring of the breadth and impact of services, broken down by gender.

Finally, opportunities exist in the form of new networks of microfinance entities that aim to promote their clients' development with gender mainstreaming.

About this Publication

By Pait, S.