Microfinance and Gender in the Context of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Nigeria
This paper addresses client targeting issues in microfinance.
The paper explores whether microfinance should address poverty in developing countries or gender bias in the context of the Millennium Development Goals. It states that client targeting involves choosing between gender targeting and poverty targeting. The nature of target will determine best practices, to some extent, in conjunction with the local specific situation. There has always been a debate on whether to lend to women or men in the context of which will have a wider reach and benefit society. The paper examines this debate by analyzing recent literature on microfinance activities in Nigeria. It uses the chi-square non-parametric method of analysis to test hypothesis differentials. Findings include:
- There is no confirmation that extending microfinance to women alone or more than men will benefit society more;
- Giving more microfinance access to women definitely empowers them, but implications of this finding on African social structure are unclear.
The above finding raises fundamental questions about the purpose of microfinance as a poverty alleviation tool. The study recommends that Nigerian MFIs should target clients based on poverty levels, instead of gender.