In 2012, Women’s World Banking turned to understanding women’s financial barriers and opportunities in the Pacific Islands for the first time with support from the New Zealand Aid Programme. As the Pacific region continues to evolve into a modern monetary economy with increasing financial pressures, the opportunities and needs are greater than ever to develop and scale financial solutions to give women more opportunities to grow businesses and meet their household needs. The Pacific region is unique in many ways—in geography, scale and culture for example—making it particularly important to develop microfinance models specific to the Pacific context. This executive summary, based on qualitative research Women’s World Banking conducted in May 2012 in partnership with Nationwide Microbank (NMB) in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Women in Business Development, Inc. (WIBDI) in Samoa, focuses on challenges and opportunities facing low-income women entrepreneurs in these countries.

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