Microfinance Research in East Africa

Funded by: The Gates Foundation Country: Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania Date Range: 2012 Project Lead: Dept. of Economics Notre Dame Collaborators: Mendoza College of Business

In 2012, microeconomic research was published on a Catholic Relief Services microfinance savings program in eastern Africa. The project compared two different systems of establishing microfinance groups in Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya. Both the $10 million microfinance program and the research were funded by The Gates Foundation. The macroeconomic work used computer simulation to understand the impacts programs might have when scaled up to be economy-wide, examining an innovation to the delivery of “self-help group” microfinance services in East Africa using a randomized control trial. The study found, among other things, that privatized entrepreneurs providing the self-help group services outperform their NGO-compensated counterparts along several dimensions.