Can renewable energy microfinance promote financial inclusion and empower the vulnerable?

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Energy microfinance is a promising asset for ensuring access to finance and electricity for the poor and women living in rural areas. Targeting vulnerable categories, renewable energy microfinance tools aim to promote sustainability and resilience policies to foster sustainable energy and ecological transitions. This research note explores the role of energy microfinance policies in facilitating virtuous loops for empowering the vulnerable, enhancing entrepreneurship, fighting poverty, and promoting social inclusion and environmental protection – as prescribed by the sustainable development mandate. Examining the microfinance-renewable energy-vulnerable nexus, the paper proposes a conceptual contribution and fungible development policy recommendations, sketching the main drivers of this linkage. To this end, a critical review of existing publications and successful world experiences is proposed. The analysis finds out a relevant potential for energy microfinance, whereby renewable energy expansion can be a strong player in shaping fresh microfinance strategies and prospects, providing ecological, social, economic and governance benefits and new research, policy, and practical agenda.

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International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development

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