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Geographic Distance and Credit Market Access in Niger


  • Jose Pedrosa,

  • Quy-Toan Do

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    • Jose Pedrosa, Economist, United Nations Development Programme Zambia, Alick Nkhata Road, PO Box 31966, Lusaka, Zambia. E-mail: Quy-Toan Do, Senior Economist, Development Economics Research Group, The World Bank, MSN MC3–306, 1818 H Street, NW, Washington DC 20433, USA. E-mail: The authors would like to thank Hinh Truong Dinh, Amadou Ibrahim, Peter Lanjouw and Peter Siegenthaler for helpful comments and discussions. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper are entirely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations Development Programme; the World Bank, its Executive Directors, or the countries they represent.


Abstract:  Distances involved in accessing basic services can constitute a major barrier to development. This paper analyzes the relationship between the distance separating households from microfinance institutions’ offices in Niger, and the low levels of development and performance of the microfinance sector in the country. To cope with the effects of geographical distance, microfinance institutions adapt their policies through more restrictive loan conditions, higher interest rates and more intensive screening. This then leads us to discuss the tension between access and sustainability in the context of financial services for the poor.