Over the last 25 years, development actors have trained approximately 700,000 Savings Groups, comprised of 14 million members, across 75 countries. Despite the seemingly large number of Savings Groups and clear evidence of benefits to members, the reality is the SG system is underperforming in terms of its potential. Market estimates for the demand for Savings Groups by women in Sub-Saharan Africa, alone, are as high as 125 million; and the potential market for Savings Groups worldwide may be as large as 400 million.
This learning brief proposes the application of the market systems approach to support the development of a well-functioning system where Savings Groups effectively reach all those who seek participation. To reach significant numbers of poor people in a sustainable manner, it is necessary to develop a vision for the future where Savings Groups are formed and operating without development agency assistance. This will require commitment from stakeholders to adopt the approach, pilot interventions, share results and together learn how best to reach scale.