How Can Microfinance for Housing, Land, and Infrastructure Catalyze Slum Improvements and New Settlements?

Paper presented at the 2011 Global Microcredit Summit, November 14-17, 2011, Valladolid, Spain
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This paper examines four sub-sectors that show promise for microfinance in a rapidly urbanizing world in which the poor seek better living conditions. They include housing, land tenure, savings, and basic infrastructure. It highlights microfinance’s contribution to financing livable cities for the urban poor through case studies of KixiCredito’s Kixicasa product in Angola, Medeen in Ghana, SlumDwellers International (SDI), and’s WaterCredit program in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The paper states that the working capital that microfinance provides to the poor is a foundation that can be built upon by helping the urban poor build assets for shelter, property, and access to basic water and sanitation services. It discusses how:

  • Microfinance helps in the process of acquiring property and improving shelter incrementally;
  • Microfinance can leverage infrastructure and discipline to provide land rights formalization assistance to its clients in a responsible manner;
  • SDI have used savings to bring their assets together to increase their influence as actors in urban development and improve their living conditions;
  • has used microfinance tools to facilitate the improvement of water access and sanitation through its WaterCredit programs in Bangladesh, India, and Kenya.

About this Publication

By Kelley, P. & Baumann, T.