Microfinance Institutions as a Vehicle for Poverty Eradication in Developing Countries: Evidence from the East African Community Member States

  • Joseph Dushime Kenyatta University School of Business, Kenya
  • Immaculate Nakalembe Kenyatta University School of Business, Kenya
  • Yar Makuei Kenyatta University School of Business, Kenya
  • Albert Kwitonda Kenyatta University School of Business, Kenya
  • Samuel Hakizimana Kenyatta University School of Business, Kenya
  • Stephen Muathe Kenyatta University School of Business, Kenya
Keywords: Financial Inclusion, Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), Poverty eradication, developing countries, East African Community (EAC)


This paper focuses on examining the link that exists between microfinance institutions (MFIs) and poverty eradication efforts in developing countries, specifically focusing on the East African member states of Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. The study was driven by the varying interpretations, debates, and opposing opinions in literature on the effects of MFIs on poverty eradication in developing economies, particularly in the East African Community (EAC). The study used a depth literature search using secondary data on the role of MFIs in poverty eradication in the EAC context. The results pointed out that despite the challenges such as high transaction rates, limited funding and others, microfinance credit has played a significant role in poverty eradication among poor/low-income families in the EAC Member States. Therefore, the study recommends that governments of the EAC Member States should increase government support, and conducive working environments should be provided to ensure microfinance institutions reach as many less privileged individuals as possible so as to raise their economic status.


Download data is not yet available.


1. Abdulmalik, U., Mata, K.A.B., Ibrahim, M. & Usman, A. (2018). The Effect of Microfinance Services on Poverty Reduction among Women in Katsina Metropolis. International Journal of Commerce and Management. 6(2):1427-1438.
2. Abera, N. & Asfaw, M. (2019). Impact of Microfinance on Rural Household Poverty in Ethiopia. Journal of Ecology & Natural Resources, 3(5).
3. Akhter, S. T. & Zaman, H. N. (2015). Self Condemnation, Indebtedness and, Financial Stress: Findings of a Cross-sectional Study in Pakistan. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 11(10). Retrieved from https://eujournal.org/index.php/esj/article/view/6680
4. Alam, P. & Azad, I. (2021). Impact of Microfinance on Income and Employment of Women in Jigjig Ethiopia. International Journal of Economics and Business Administration, IX (1), 373–381. https://doi.org/10.35808/ijeba/679
5. Al-mamun, Abdullah, Mohammad, Nurul, Huda, Mazumder & Malarvizhi, C. A. (2014). Measuring the effect of amanah ikhtiar Malaysia’s microcredit programme on economic vulnerability among hard-core poor households. Progress in Development Studies, 1, 49–59.
6. Al-Shami, S.S.A., Majid, I., Mohamad, M.R. & Rashid, N. (2017). Household welfare and women empowerment through microcredit financing: evidence from Malaysia microcredit. Journal of Human Behaviour in the Social Environment 27(8),894–910.https://doi.org/10.1080/10911359.2017.1345341.
7. Armendáriz, B. & Morduch, J. (2005). The Economics of MicroFinance. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. 2005. ISBN: 0-262-01216-2, 352 pages.
8. Anthony, A. & Isaac, O. (2012). Impact of Microfinance on Poverty Alleviation in Ondo State, Nigeria. Australian Journal of Business and Management Research, 2(99), 31-37. https://ajbmr.com/articlepdf/aus-29- 12i9n2a4.pdf
9. Bakhtiari, S. (2011). Microfinance And Poverty Reduction: Some International Evidence.International Business & Economics Research Journal (IBER), 5(12)
10. Bazira, B. A. (2020). Financial Inclusion in Burundi: The Use of Microfinance Services in Semi-Urban Areas. Journal of Economic Development, 45(3), 101-116.
11. Beisland, L. A., D’Espallier, B. & Mersland, R. (2019). The Commercialization of the Microfinance Industry: Is There a ‘Personal Mission Drift’ Among Credit Officers? J Bus Ethics 158, 119–134. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-017-3710-4.
12. Bel, K., Miled, H. & Rejeb, J.-E.B., (2015). Microfinance and Poverty Reduction: A Review and Synthesis of Empirical Evidence. Procedia - Social and Behavioural Sciences, 195, 705–712. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.SBSPRO.2015.06.339
13. Bogale, B. B. (2018).The Impact of Microfinance on Poverty Reduction and Women Empowerment. RAIS Collective Volume of Economic Science 03, Research Association for Interdisciplinary Studies. https://ideas.repec.org/p/smo/rpaper/03.html
14. Buckley, G. (1997). Microfinance in Africa: Is it either the problem or the solution? World Development, 25(7), 1081-1093.
15. Chowdhury, A. (2009). Microfinance as a Poverty Reduction Tool – A Critical Assessment. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Working Paper (89).
16. Copestake, J. & Williams, R. (2011). What is the Impact of Microfinance and What Does this Imply for Microfinance Policy and for Future Impact Studies? Oxford Policy Management, Oxford. https://www.opml.co.uk/sites/opml/files/impact study.pdf.
17. Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (3rd Ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
18. Das, S. G., Srinivasan, R. K. & Kodamarty, M. (2010). Strategies to Counter Microfinance Delivery Challenges. Available at SSRN 2116876.
19. D’Espallier, B., Goedecke, J., Hudon, M. & Mersland, R. (2017). From NGOs to banks: Does institutional transformation alter the business model of microfinance institutions? World Development, 89, 19–33.
20. East African Community. (n.d.). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_African_Community
21. East African Business Council (EABC). (n.d.). https://eabc-online.com/sectoral-desks/
22. Fisher, T. & Sriram, M. S. (2002). Beyond Micro-credit: Putting Development Back into Microfinance, Vistaar Publications, New Dehli, Oxfam, Oxford, UK, New Economics foundation, London.
23. Garikipati, S. (2012). Microcredit and Women's Empowerment: Through the Lens of Time-Use Data from Rural India.Development and Change, 43, 719-750.
24. Gasiorek, M., Byiers, B. & Rollo, J. (2016). Regional integration, poverty and the East African Community: What do we know and what have we learnt? (Discussion Paper 202). Maastricht: ECDPM.
25. Gibbons. D. & Meehan, J. W. (2002). Financing microfinance for poverty reduction. Draft paper commissioned by the Microcredit Summit Campaign. Malaysia: CASHPOR Financial and Technical Services.
26. Hameed, W. U., Mohammad, H. B. & Shahar, H. B. K. (2020). Determinants of micro-enterprise success through microfinance institutions: A capital mix and previous work experience. International Journal of Business and Society, 21(2), 803-823.
27. Hashemi, S., Schuler, S. R. & Riley, A. (1996). Rural credit programs and women's empowerment in Bangladesh. World Development, 24, 635-653.
28. Hossain, F. (2001). Administration of Development Initiatives by Non-Governmental Organisations. A study of their sustainability in Bangladesh and Nepal. Academic Dissertation, University of Tampere.
29. Hulme, D. (2000). Is Micro debt good for poor people? A note on the dark side of microfinance. Small Enterprise Development 11(1), 26-27
30. Imai, K. S., Arun, T. & Annim, S. K. (2010). Microfinance and Household Poverty Reduction: New Evidence from India. World Development, vol. 38, no. 12, pp.
31. Jalil, M. F. (2021). Microfinance towards micro-enterprises development in rural Malaysia through digital finance. Discov Sustain 2, 55. https://doi.org/10.1007/s43621-021-00066-3
32. Johnson, S. & Rogaly, B. (1997). Microfinance and poverty reduction. Oxfam and Action Aid, London. ISBN: 0855983698, 134 pages.
33. Kessy, S.A. & Urio, F. (2006). The Contribution of Microfinance Institutions to Poverty Reduction in Tanzania. Research Report No.06.3-REPOA. Dar es Salaam: MKUKI na Nyota Publishers.
34. Khandker, S. R. (2005). Microfinance and Poverty: Evidence Using Panel Data from Bangladesh. The World Bank Economic Review19(2):263–286. https://doi.org/10.1093/wber/lhi008
35. Kimando, L. N., Sakwa, M., Grace, M. & Njogu, W. (2012). Impact of Business Development Services on Enterprises in Rural Kenya: A Case Study of Micro and Small Enterprises in Muranga Town. International Journal of Business and Commerce, 1(9),149-165 www.ijbcnet.com
36. Kimmitt, J. & Munoz, P. (2017). Entrepreneurship and financial inclusion through the lens of instrumental freedoms. International Small Business Journal, 35(7), 803-828.
37. Kumari, P. (2020). Theoretical Analysis of Microfinance on Poverty Alleviation. Journal of Economic Info, 7(3), 221-236. https://doi.org/10.31580/jei.v7i3.1709
38. Machingambi, J. (2020). The Impact of Microfinance on the Sustainability of 'Poor' Clients: A Conceptual Review. Journal of Entrepreneurial innovations 1(1), 50-50
39. Matlala, R., Shambare, R. & Lebambo, M. (2014). How South African Spaza Shop Owners Utilise Mobile Communication Technologies to Run their Businesses. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 10(25). https://doi.org/10.19044/esj.2014.v10n25p%p
40. Mawa, B. (2018a). Impact of Microfinance : Towards Achieving Poverty Alleviation ?January.
41. Mawa, B. (2018b). Impact of Microfinance : Towards Achieving Poverty Alleviation ?February.
42. Melissa, P. J. (2013). Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries (QQML). Secondary Data Analysis: A Method of which the Time Has Come, School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA. 3:619 –626
43. Moreno, A. (2010). Grameen Microfinance: An Evaluation of the Successes and Limitations of the Grameen Bank. Honors Theses (PPE). Paper 17.
44. Muithya, V. M., Muathe, S. M. A. & Kinyua, G. (2021). Too Much of a Good Thing? Strategic Innovation Orientation, Customer Satisfaction and Performance of Licensed Microfinance Institutions in Kenya.International Journal of Economics, Commerce and Management.9 (6), 287-303
45. Mutoko, W. R. & Mutoko, P. (2020). Towards Implementing the Grameen Bank Financing Model Among Micro Enterprises in Botswana: Is it a Possibility? European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 16(4), 29. https://doi.org/10.19044/esj.2020.v16n4p31
46. Nakabugo, M. J., Muathe, S. & Mwasiaji, E. (2022). Microfinance Services and Government Regulations: Reflections on Performance of Small Holder Coffee Entrepreneurs in Uganda. The Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance 24 (1), 1-24
47. Nathan, O., Banga, M. & Ashie, M. (2004). Microfinance and Poverty Reduction In Uganda: Achievements And Challenges. Economic Policy Research Centre, (Research series No. 41).
48. Nasir, S. (2013). Microfinance in India: Contemporary issues and challenges. Middle-east journal of scientific research, 15(2), 191-199.
49. Nawai, N. & Shariff, M. N. M. (2013). Loan repayment problems in microfinance programs that use an individual lending approach: A qualitative analysis. Journal of Transformative Entrepreneurship, 1(2), 93-99.
50. n.d. (n.d.). The Nobel Peace Prize 2006. NobelPrize.org. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/2006/summary/
51. Niaz, M. & Khan, A. (2021). Financial Inclusion through Microfinance and Entrepreneurial Development. City University Research Journal 11(4)
52. Norfarah, N. & Siti-Nabiha, A. K. & Kamalia, Z. (2019). Microfinancing Influence on Micro-Entrepreneurs Business Growth: Mediating Role of Psychological and Social Capital. Journal of Entrepreneurship, Business and Economics,7(2), 130-161.
53. Ntiedo, B. E. (2016). Informal Capital Markets and Integrated Rural Development in Nigeria. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 12(22), 305. https://doi.org/10.19044/esj.2016.v12n22p305
54. Okurut, F. N., Banga, M. & Mukungu, A. (2004). “Gender and Microfinance”; A Study Undertaken for the Microfinance Outreach Plan (MOP), Ministry of Fiancé Planning and Economic Development, Kampala April. Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS, 1999/2000).
55. Pitt, M. M. & Khandker, S. R. (1998). The Impact of Group-Based Credit Programs on Poor Households in Bangladesh: Does the Gender of Participants Matter? Journal of Political Economy 106(5):958–96.
56. Pitt, M., Khandker, S. & Cartwright, J. (2006). Empowering Women with Microfinance: Evidence from Bangladesh. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 54(4):791-831.
57. Rahman, S., Junankar, P. N. & Mallik, G. (2009). Factors influencing women’s empowerment on microcredit borrowers: A case study in Bangladesh. Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, 14(3), 287–303.
58. Samer, S., Majid, I., Rizal, S., Muhamad, M. R. & Rashid, N. (2015). Science Direct the Impact of Microfinance on Poverty Reduction: Empirical Evidence from Malaysian Perspective. Procedia-Social and Behavioural Sciences, 195(2015), 721–728.
59. Sanyal, P. (2009). From credit to collective action: The role of microfinance in promoting women's social capital and normative influence. American Sociological Review, 74(4), 529-550.
60. Shahriar, A. Z. M., Schwarz, S. & Newman, A. (2016). Profit orientation of microfinance institutions and the provision of financial capital to business start-ups. International Small Business Journal, 34(4), 532-552.
61. Shamit, M. (2016). "Rethinking Microcredit in Bangladesh: Does Grameen Bank Serve the Neoliberal Agenda?" Inquiries Journal, 8(09). http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/a?id=1451
62. Steele, F., Amin, S. & Naved, R. T. (2001). Savings/credit group formation and change in contraception. Demography, 38 (2): 267-282.
63. Thorsten, B. (2015). Microfinance: A Critical Literature Survey. IEG working paper, 2015/No.4; Washington, DC: Independent Evaluation Group. © Independent Evaluation Group, World Bank Group. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/23546 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
64. Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) (2021). Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS, 2016/2017).
65. Ukanwa, I., Xiong, L. & Anderson, A. (2018). Experiencing microfinance: Effects on poor women entrepreneurs’ livelihood strategies. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 25(3), 428-446.
66. Ul-Hameed, W., Mohammad, H. & Kadir, S. H. (2018). Microfinance institute’s non-financial services and women-empowerment: the role of vulnerability. Management Science Letters 8(1103–1116). https://doi.org/10.5267/j.msl.2018.7.001.
67. Weiss, J., Montgomery, H. & Kurmanalieva, E. (2003). Micro Finance and Poverty Reduction in Asia: What is the Evidence? SSRN Electronic Journal. 10.2139/ssrn.1396983.
68. Yusuf, M. M., Saidu, B. M. & Ahmed, B. A. (2015). An Analysis of Employment Potentials of Cottage, Micro and Small Scale Enterprises in Jigawa State of Nigeria. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 11(19). Retrieved from https://eujournal.org/index.php/esj/article/view/5943
How to Cite
Dushime, J., Nakalembe, I., Makuei, Y., Kwitonda, A., Hakizimana, S., & Muathe, S. (2022). Microfinance Institutions as a Vehicle for Poverty Eradication in Developing Countries: Evidence from the East African Community Member States. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 18(22), 207. https://doi.org/10.19044/esj.2022.v18n22p207
ESJ Social Sciences