To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) performance and (b) client protection requirements his Department places on recipients of financing provided to apex funds for microfinance projects.
Providing access to stable, sustainable, quality and affordable financial services for the poor is the objective of the Department for International Development's (DFID's) financial sector development programmes, including support for apex institutions. All organisations funded by DFID are reviewed annually to assess their performance against an agreed set of indicators, and on completion, to evaluate their development impact.
Measures to improve client protection are key criteria of DFID's financial sector development programmes. For example, DFID's Financial Inclusion programme in Pakistan incorporates a comprehensive strategy to safeguard client interests through capacity building for financial institutions, regulatory reform and financial education. DFID also supports the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), the multi-donor think tank on microfinance housed in the World Bank, which leads on client protection issues. CGAP has also quantitatively assessed the performance of 34 apex institutions in achieving their original development objectives and in improving the sustainability of microfinance institutions. The research, due for publication in March 2011, will be used to inform DFID's future work with apex organisations.