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Sentrum vir Inklusiewe Bankwese in Afrika

  MBA Elective Outline: Introduction to Microfinance
(this course is offered at GIBS - The University of Pretoria’s GORDON INSTITUTE OF BUSINESS SCIENCE in Johannesburg)

PRESENTER: Gerhard Coetzee 

OVERVIEW:  Max class size of 50

Access to financial services is an important aspect of the economic and financial market development of developing countries.  At the client level it is an important aspect of being part of the market, of being "included" in the economic development of a country.  Financial services for low income households and the poor are not comprehensively addressed in postgraduate course work in South Africa.  The objective of this course is to introduce the student to microfinance, and to take the student on a journey to inclusive finance and - banking.


The learning objective of the course is to introduce you to the world of microfinance and take you on a journey explaining the history and role of microfinance, and how we arrived at the concept of inclusive finance today.  Specifically we will look at:

  • The history of microfinance, its definition and discuss the evolving theoretical framework for the financial service industry from the 1970s to the 1990s and the imperfect information paradigm;
  • The market profile, taking into consideration both the demand and the supply side;
  • Informal finance to provide an understanding of the informal structures and an indication of clients' preferences and problems;
  • Member based financial services;
  • Financial institutions involved in the provision of microfinance, e.g. state owned retail banks, commercial banks, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), etc.; and
  • The sustainability and outreach of microfinance institutions.
  • A short overview of the process of designing and defining new financial products focused on the low-income and the poor.


Our approach consists mostly of lectures, discussion groups, a field visit (actually an informal research assignment) and afterwards an individual assignment.


The assessment for this elective will be as follows:
  • Individual assignment (60%)
  • Class participation (40%)

  Download MP3 - Prof Gerhard Coetzee


Students choose the electives as part of the second study year of the MBA degree, aimed at leaders and managers (or aspiring managers) responsible for microfinance in commercial financial institutions, state-owned retail financial institutions, non-government institutions, member-based institutions, as well as policy makers and senior government officials.