Md Shafiqual Haque Choudhury, microfinance pioneer
Sadly, we learned of Md Shafiqual Haque Choudhury’s passing, another of the world’s leaders and innovators in microfinance.
Shafiqual founded the Association for Social Advancement (ASA) in Bangladesh in 1978, then transformed the organisation into ASA International in 2007 to provide small, socially responsible loans to low income, financially underserved entrepreneurs, predominantly women. ASA International is now one of the world’s largest microfinance institutions, with almost 2,000 branches across 13 countries serving 2.5 million clients.
The distinctive microfinance model Shafiqual created is based on an ecosystem of decentralised branches enabling cost efficiency, quick decision-making, and replicability. Lending is based on groups, but without joint liability, with loans given for income-generating purposes only and with repayment in full required to be eligible for a new loan.
ASA is a member of the Banking with the Poor network, and Shafiqual was the keynote speaker at its inaugural Asia Microfinance Forum in 2006.
He is remembered as a humble person with boundless energy and a passion for social mission.