Presentation of the book “The Miracle of financial inclusion Bolivia’s microfinance industry (1990-2013 )”

The Vice Chairman of Fundación INESAD, Reynaldo Marconi, presented his book “El milagro de inclusión financiera. La industria microfinanciera de Bolivia (1990-2013)” (“The Miracle of financial inclusion. The microfinance industry in Bolivia (1990-2013)“) on Thursday November 13, 2014  at the Hall of the Vice President of the State, in the city of La Paz. The book was published by the Strategic Research Programme in Bolivia (PIEB) and theBolivian Academy of Economic Sciences, sponsored by Hivos.

Boris Branisa, Godofredo Sandoval, Corina Straatsma, Reynaldo Marconi, Pilar Ramírez and Enrique García.

Hivos’ Regional Director for South America, Corina Straatsma gave introductory remarks and Boris Branisa, Executive Director and Senior Investigator at the INESAD Foundation moderated the presentation. The study was reviewed by the microfinance pioneer and supporter of  the Center for Promotion of Economic Initiatives (FIE), Pilar Ramirez and the president of the Bolivian Academy of Economic Sciences, Enrique García Ayaviri .

The author analyzes the emergence, construction, development and consolidation of Bolivian Microfinance System (SMB) in the context of two laws: the Law on Banks and Financial Institutions of April 1993 and the Financial Services Act of August 2013. The book describes the SMB’s development as a process in which a crisis characterized by informality and unemployment in the 90s became an opportunity for germination of microcredit as a national alternative.

Marconi highlighted four important results from the presence of a microfinance system in the country for over two decades: widespread access to credit for micro-enterprises, small businesses and small agricultural production; multiplication and spread of popular savings and micro savings; expansion of health care coverage in the territory; and development of local financial intermediation.

According to his research, the country’s economically active population (EAP) with access to credit increased from 2.9 % in 1990 to 33% in 2013. This growth was also reflected in increased popular savings, which currently stand at around 4,000 million dollars. The SMB also has around 18 thousand employees who work in both rural and urban areas and have witnessed the  growth and expansion in the country. Finally, the SMB works without relying on foreign resources, but through attracting savings and loan placements.

The author claims that the SMB has influenced Bolivia’s economic development, promoting financial inclusion, stating it now faces the challenge of articulating current policies of social inclusion and becoming one of the pillars of the country’s development agenda in subsequent years.

Bolivian microfinance is repeatedly commended in the international context. Under the auspices of the IDB / MIF, CAF and the Economist’s Economist Intelligence Unit contest generate an annual report called Global Microscope on the Business Environment for Microfinance. Bolivia ranked first in the 2007 annual report. Then, in 2010, Bolivia fell to third place, preceded by the Philippines and Peru. As of 2011, Bolivia  ranked second place worldwide preceded only by Peru.

On the other hand, with respect to the degree of Coverage of Financial Services, as measured by the amount of Financial Services Locations, which include bank branches, agencies and automatic teller machines (ATMs ) per 100,000 inhabitants, Bolivia ranks second in the region preceded by Brazil and ahead of countries such as Argentina , Chile, Peru, Colombia, etc. Undoubtedly the SMB has played an important role in obtaining this admirable regional position.

The publication identifies the Banks Specialized in Microfinance and Private Financial Funds as major actors working to promote financial inclusion in the country. These institutions are regulated by the ASFI and associated with ASOFIN. With the new Financial Services Act, these entities have transformed into the new Multiple Bank or Bank SME. In addition, the author points out, the Development Finance Institutions, formerly known as financial NGOs, have also contributed to improving financial inclusion in the country, especially in rural areas and in terms of women’s access to credit. These institutions are in the process of adapting to regulation and are associated with FINRURAL.

 

Reynaldo Ojeda Adam Marconi

Economist with a BA and MA from the University of Nanterre in France and a Specialized Graduate Diploma (DESS) from the University Paris I Sorbonne, France. Marconi also holds a law degree from the Franz Tamayo Private University of La Paz, Bolivia. He has held technical and executive positions in finance and development, rural and agricultural development and microfinance institutions. He served as Executive Secretary of the Association of Financial Entities Specialized in Microfinance in Bolivia (ASOFIN) until March 2014, and as General Manager of the Association of Financial Institutions for Rural Development of Bolivia (FINRURAL) between 1995 and 2009 as well as Founding President of the Bureau of Credit Information, INFOCRED BIC S.A.. He is currently Vice Chairman of the INESAD Foundation.

 

At the international level was the Founding President of the Latin American and Caribbean Forum for Rural Finance (LAC FORUM FR) and Board member of the Social Performance Task Force (SPTF) in Microfinance. He has written numerous books and research papers on microfinance, financial regulation, rural finance, impact assessment and measurement of social performance in microfinance.

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