Macro debates at the Micro-Credit Summit

The Summit, held in February 1997 in Washington DC, involved participation from governments, UN agencies, corporations, NGOs and credit practitioners. The author reviews the discussion, much of it concerning the importance of distinguishing between development reasons for advocating and initiating micro-enterprise, finance and credit schemes and more general economic reasons for doing so. Other debates include whether income generation is a key strategy to combat poverty, whether microcredit really helps the poorest populations, how gender should be integrated into programme structures, and the value of credit for micro-enterprise compared to micro-finance.