Elisabeth Rhyne


Independent Consultant specializing in financial inclusion

Elisabeth Rhyne has devoted much of her career to microfinance. She is now an independent consultant specializing in financial inclusion. Previously, she was the managing director of the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, a research and action center for collaboration on challenges confronting the microfinance and financial inclusion sectors. At the Center, she co-founded and now oversees the Smart Campaign, a global effort to embed client protection principles and practices throughout the microfinance industry.

As senior vice president of ACCION International from 2000-2008, Ms. Rhyne led ACCION’s initial entry into Africa and India, directed research efforts to develop new financial products and managed ACCION’s publications and educational activities.

Ms. Rhyne has published numerous articles and books on microfinance, including Microfinance for Bankers and Investors (McGraw-Hill, 2009) and Mainstreaming Microfinance (Kumarian Press, 2001). She co-edited The New World of Microenterprise Finance, which provided the introduction to microfinance for many of the field’s current professionals.

Ms. Rhyne was director of the Office of Microenterprise Development at the U.S. Agency for International Development from 1994 to 1998; while there she led the Agency’s Microenterprise Initiative. She lived eight years in Kenya (with USAID) and Mozambique (as an independent consultant), working on microfinance policy and operations for governments, international organizations and microfinance institutions as well as on a range of private sector development programs.

She has taught at the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and the Boulder Institute of Microfinance. Ms. Rhyne holds a master's and Ph.D. in public policy from Harvard University and a bachelor's degree in history and humanities from Stanford University.

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