Rural and Microfinance in the Lower Mekong Region: Policies, Institutions, and Market Outcomes

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This study examines progress in rural and microfinance in Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Viet Nam over the past decade, in comparison with industry standards set by international best practices. The study focuses on the policy environment, including regulatory norms and their implementation, as well as support provided to financial infrastructure, and the impact of this environment on the development and performance of institutions providing rural and microfinance services. This examination helps guide government and international development agencies as to which types of interventions can be most supportive of efficient and sustainable institutions that provide financial products and services to the poor, especially those in rural areas.


  • Foreword
  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction and Background
  • Recent Developments in Rural and Microfinance
  • Cambodia: Broadening Services and Expanding Outreach
  • Lao People’s Democratic Republic: Continuing Reforms and Capacity Building to Create a Robust Sector
  • Viet Nam: Reducing Government Dominance and Formalizing Microfinance
  • Conclusions and Recommendations: Major Similarities and Differences among the Three Countries
  • Appendix 1: Microfinance Institution Survey Questionnaire
  • Appendix 2: The Key Principles of Microfinance
  • Appendix 3: Cambodia’s Rural and Microfinance as of Late 2003
  • Appendix 4: Viet Nam’s Microfinance Institutions Visited for This Study
  • References

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Source: Asia Development Bank