WELCOME MESSAGE

 

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I would like to cordially invite you to the 14th MFC Annual Conference “Reorienting Microfinance towards Balanced Growth”, to be held 18-20 May, 2011 in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.  

Microfinance, once a darling of international development and donors, praised for job creation and poverty alleviation, is now blamed for the indebtedness of clients and other misfortunes of poor people. The criticism and disappointment with microfinance grew almost proportionately with its rapid growth. Outreach to the poor quickly became an insufficient outcome: microfinance was soon required to be sustainable, profitable, commercial, investable, transparent, responsible and more. In addition, new non-economic dimensions were added to financial services: education, health, gender empowerment, family planning to name just a few. Finally, microfinance arrived on the Wall Street as a new asset class promising reasonable returns and portfolio stabilizing features.

Is it realistic to expect that microfinance alone can carry such a huge responsibility and respond to the growing demands?  

The financial crisis exposed the cracks in the system that were building up over time and offered many lessons and opportunities for improvement. It is now time to review our expectations towards microfinance and what microfinance can realistically deliver. The upcoming MFC conference will offer an opportunity for debate and reflection on how to revert to the core principles of microfinance and how to reoriented it towards a balanced growth.   

Let me also invite all MFC member institutions to the MFC Membership meeting that will take place in Bellevue Hall at the Corinthia Hotel Prague (18 May, 2011). This year two new MFC Board Directors will be selected by the General Assembly.

Additionally, on 17 May, 2011 MFC together with the SEEP Network, will host the Second Regional Microfinance Association Summit. Information about this event will be provided to country level associations via a separate mailing.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact GUARANT International –
MFC conference partner based in Prague at mfc2011@guarant.cz.

 

We look forward to seeing you in Prague!

Grzegorz Galusek
and the MFC team

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