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Micro-Finance in Rural Communities in Southern Africa
Country and Pilot Site Case Studies, Policy Issues and Recommendations
Human Sciences Research Council
297mm X 210mm | 184pp. | ISBN: 0-7969-2000-1 | R 78.00 | June 2002


Micro-Finance in Rural Communities in Southern Africa was a report prepared by the HSRC for the Integrated Rural Development Program (IRDP) of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Southern Africa. The IRDP is a core initiative in Foundations Africa portfolio of programmes, which aims to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of rural communities. A component of this programme is to help capitalise locally based enterprise development initiatives by stimulating the provision of and access to micro-finance in rural areas.
Three sites were selected to pilot the introduction of this and other IRDP activities. These are: Chimanimani (Zimbabwe), Chimoio (Mozambique) and Nyandeni (South Africa). As part of this initiative, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) conducted an evaluation in the three key sites of the IRDP, to evaluate the implications of implementing a micro-finance scheme in these areas.

While micro-finance in its various forms has helped to make loan capital more accessible to low-income rural communities, much remains to be done to increase its outreach, impact and sustainability. The essential objective of this study is to make well-researched recommendations for IRDP policy and strategy to enable the micro-finance agents that it will shortly be appointing to maximize improvements in these key indicators in the three pilot sites.

Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • Outline of the institutional context and terms of reference of the report, as well as a brief discussion of its timeframe, methodology, value and limitations
  • Determinants of demand for financial services in three pilot studies
  • Access to financial services
    These chapters depict the demand for financial services in the three pilot areas and, on the other hand, access to micro-finance in the respective communities
  • Micro-finance in rural communities
    This is an account of the essential nature and capabilities of micro-finance, of recent developments in this regard, of fundamental lessons from international experience and of best practices in a rural context.
  • Policy issues and recommendations
    This chapter identifies the key sets of policy issues facing, in the first instance, public policy-makers seeking to promote micro-finance development and, in the second, donors/investors
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Chapter 1 & 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5