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How to better reach underserved borrowers

Time (GMT -05) 14:00 15:15
Image credit:2023 World Bank Annual Meetings, Marrakech. Image license:World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED)
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ODI at the WBG/IMF Spring Meetings

ODI is convening a series of events in Washington DC during the week of the 2024 World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings.

For more information, including details on how to register, please visit our dedicated Spring Meetings webpage.


The COVID pandemic, the climate emergency, the global economic meltdown, and conflicts that are eroding development gains have given rise to an increasingly vocal movement, particularly in the Global South, that is screaming that the tools that the development finance institutions have been offering for decades are not achieving their purpose in alleviating poverty. Nearly all development finance institutions and multilateral development banks are structured in a way that requires them to achieve near commercial returns at a time when global interest rates are higher than they have been in years. The Bridgetown Initiative, the Loss and Damage Fund, and other movements have been shining a light on the need to reach the most underserved markets. Those underserved markets that struggle to get access to financing include:

Those living in underserved areas: low-income countries, fragile areas, vulnerable areas of countries (e.g., the Amazon, Northern Nigeria, etc.)

Underserved people: women, LGBTQ+, indigenous, people with disabilities, Afro-descendants in Latin America, religious minorities (e.g., Christian in Iraq), former or potential combatants (youth in underserved regions), the elderly, etc.

Underserved classes of borrowers: those who need less than $5 million (e.g., businesses in low-income countries) and those who need less than $1,000-$1 million (e.g., market women who may need only $1,000, but who typically get high interest, short term loans; women getting their first mortgage for $20,000).

This event on the side lines of the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, will examine what approaches MDBs and DFIs have been taking to increase their lending and support to these underserved markets and what needs to be done to increase support.

With a panel of experts involved in reaching these underserved markets, they will discuss:

- What approaches are working?

- How to scale these approaches?

- What are the structural challenges (cultural, financial, incentive structures etc.) to getting institutions to focus on underserved markets and what can be done to overcome these challenges?

- Who are the stakeholders who need to be sold on the changes (e.g., shareholders, legislators)?

Final list of speakers TBC


  • Andrew Herscowitz , ODI

    Andrew Herscowitz

    Executive Director, ODI North America

  • Lori Kerr

    Lori Kerr

    Chief Executive Officer, FinDev Canada

  • Colin Buckley BII

    Colin Buckley

    Managing Director and General Counsel, British International Investment

  • Adama Mariko headshot

    Adama Mariko

    Secretary General of Finance in Common

  • Cesar Buenadicha

    César Buenadicha

    Head of the Discovery Unit, IDB Lab

  • Frannie Leautier_Head Shot.jpg

    Frannie Leautier

    Partner, CEO of SouthBridge Investment

  • Cam Do headshot

    Cam Do

    Director General of the Innovative and Climate Finance Bureau, Global Affairs Canada

  • Agnes Dasewicz headshot

    Agnes Dasewicz

    Chief Operating Officer, DFC