Eminent Speakers' Forum: Microfinance in India and Global Trends

Eminent Speakers' Forum: Vijay Mahajan

The speaker invited for this forum, Vijay Mahajan, is Chair of the Executive Committee of the Council of Governors of the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), a leading think-tank on research, policy recommendations, and knowledge sharing dedicated to expanding access to finance for poor people around the world. CGAP, which is managed by the World Bank, also includes a group of trust funds.

Background

Financial inclusion, which originates from microfinance and access to finance, has been incorporated in the G20 development agenda since the September 2009 Pittsburgh Summit. While its importance as a tool for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction is broadly recognized, the scope and modus operandi of financial inclusion are still evolving, in the face of changing IT-environment and client demands. In particular, there is a need for clients to be treated fairly and protected from abusive practice on the part of service providers.

In this regard, the Autumn 2010 scandal that engulfed the Andhra Pradesh, India, microfinance market (characterized by over-indebtedness of borrowers, abusive collection practice, intervention of politicians, and significant increase of loan default rates) has drawn great attention to the microfinance/financial inclusion industry worldwide.

Objectives

This Forum offers an opportunity for ADB staff and other participants to get first-hand information and insights from a leading practitioner and thinker on lessons learned from the 2010 Andhra Pradesh microfinance crisis.

Target Participants

ADB Senior Management and staff, as well as invited representatives from the Philippine Government, development community, private sector, and civil society.

Resource Speakers

Vijay Mahajan, Founder and CEO, Basix Social Enterprise Group and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the CGAP. While a promoter of financial inclusion, Vijay Mahajan is also one of India's leading microfinance entrepreneurs. He is Founder and CEO of the BASIX Social Enterprise Group, a non-banking financial institution established in 1996, which aims to promote sustainable livelihood for the poor through the provision of financial services and technical assistance. BASIX, which operates in 17 states and over 39,000 villages, employs over 10,000 staff, 80 percent of which are based in small towns and villages. As of 2011, BASIX had over 570,000 active borrowers with an average loan balance of $100 each.