The Catalytic Capital for Women’s Economic Empowerment Report is part of an external review of the Investing in Women initiative (IW), funded by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Carried out during July and August 2018, the report summaries the findings and recommendations around Component 2 (C2) on impact investing, comprising interviews with some 30 key stakeholders and analysis of more than 100 documents.

Women’s Health Matters IIX and IIX Foundation USA believe no women should be denied health access because of financial or social barriers. IIX has spent the past decade using its expertise in innovative finance to empower millions of underserved women across the world.

While Islamic finance is a growing industry with more than 1,000 Islamic finance institutions and combined assets in excess of $1.3 trillion (Reuters 2013), the development of sharia-compliant microfinance has been much less prolific. Since 2006, the number of service providers offering sharia-compliant microfinance products has doubled, albeit from a very small base, and the number of clients using such products has quadrupled (El-Zoghbi and Tarazi 2013). Nonetheless, customers of sharia-compliant microfinance products represent less than 1 percent of the number of clients served by conventional microfinance.

3 Key Risks in Going Digital – and How Microfinance Institutions Can Address Them: Grameen Foundation provides risk management tips for MFIs adopting mobile solutions

I FOR IMPACT: BLENDING ISLAMIC FINANCE AND IMPACT INVESTING FOR THE GLOBAL GOALS

The Islamic finance sector, meanwhile, has grown from a market of US$200 billion in 2003 to an estimated  US$1.8 trillion in 2014,3 and is expected to reach US$2.7 trillion in 2021.4 This represents a strong potential source of financing for the SDGs, fostering development and helping to end poverty. Although Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries account for 22 percent of the world’s population, they house 40 percent of the world’s poor who live on US$1.25 a day or less. Reaching more of those at “the base of the pyramid” (BoP) by deepening and widening the range of Islamic financing solutions available to the poor, especially microfinancing products, would be a major contribution to the 2030 Agenda.

MSME FINANCE GAP:

ASSESSMENT OF THE SHORTFALLS AND OPPORTUNITIES IN FINANCING MICRO, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES IN EMERGING MARKETS

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) represent a significant part of the world economy, and are one of the strongest drivers of economic development, innovation and employment. Access to finance is frequently identified as a critical barrier to growth for MSMEs.  A growing body of literature has highlighted the extent to which MSMEs are credit constrained across developing countries — including the importance of relieving this constraint to achieve higher growth. Creating opportunities for MSMEs in emerging markets is a key way to advance economic development and reduce poverty. In this regard, it is also one of the major priorities of the World Bank Group and other development institutions around the globe.

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