Since the early 1970s, a quiet revolution – microfinance – has been sweeping the globe. Poverty can now, in part,
be redefined as a lack of access to reliable, affordable financial services that enables people to build economic
security and improve their lives. Microfinance, which has evolved in an array of formats, from regulated banks to
Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSlAs), has made life better for millions, first through access to credit, but
increasingly through savings, insurance and pension schemes as well.