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The Global microscope on the microfinance business environment 2011 benchmarks and evaluates business and operating conditions for microfinance in developing countries around the world. Commissioned and funded by MIF, CAF and IFC, the Global Microscope 2011 is the Economist Intelligence Unit’s third annual effort to assign ratings to microfinance markets in 55 developing countries worldwide. (Egypt’s microfinance sector was newly added to this year’s study, increasing the count from 54 countries covered in the 2010 report.) This also marks the release of the fifth annual index tracking conditions in 21 countries in the Latin American and Caribbean region.
The index that underlies this report allows countries and regions to be compared across two broad categories: Regulatory Framework and Practices, which examines regulatory and market-entry conditions, and Supporting Institutional Framework, which assesses business practices and client interaction. The Microscope was originally developed for countries in the Latin American and Caribbean region in 2007 and was expanded into a global study in 2009. Most of the research for this report, which included surveys, interviews and desk analysis, was conducted in the first half of 2011. This year’s Microscope builds on last year’s study, but significantly improves it by utilising a new methodology, increasing the number of interviews conducted per country, and featuring financial performance data to provide context for each country’s scores. This work was supported by financing from the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDB); CAF (Latin American Development Bank); and the Netherlands Technical Assistance Trust Fund at IFC.