Financial services programmes for the poor: verifying evidence for policymaking

Date: Monday, April 23, 2018
Time: 9:00am -5:30pm
Venue: Conference Room S120 - Oval Room, IFAD, Via Paolo di Dono, 44, 00142 Roma RM, Italy

A substantial portion of poor population in low- and middle-income countries (L&MICs) lives in rural areas. Inaccessibility to these areas pose a major challenge to poverty alleviation programmes such as financial services. To overcome these barriers, development organizations have designed a number of financial instruments to target the rural poor. While some research assesses the value of these instruments, questions remain around delivery, risk management and programme design.

To this end, donors and funders have been increasing their operations in the financial services space in L&MICs. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has invested over US$3 billion in rural finance. Current ongoing investments of approximately US$1.14 billion represent 13 percent of its portfolio. The Gates Foundation is also funding projects on increasing access to financial services for the poor. To ensure the research quality behind their programming, the Gates Foundation funded a 3ie replication grants window to independently reassess seven policy-relevant impact evaluations on financial services for the poor.

On 23 April 2018, 3ie and IFAD hosted an event on financial services for the poor and rural finance. IFAD showcased their rural finance programming and impact evaluations work. Seven 3ie-funded researchers presented their replication analyses of influential impact evaluations. The day concluded with a panel of international donors and organization discussing research transparency practices and the quality of the evidence around financial services for the poor.

For any queries regarding the event or questions about the presentations or reports, please contact Scott Neilitz at

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©A Melody Lee/World Bank

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