Microenterprises - very small businesses consisting of a single self-employed person, a family, or at the most a few employees - are the main source of livelihood of up to half of the population of most developing countries. In the past this vital sector, often referred to also as the informal sector, has received inadequate attention, but increasingly multilateral and bilateral agencies and non-governmental organizations are searching for ways to help improve the effectiveness of these microenterprise operations and to enable them to make a greater contribution to the development of the third world and to the general efforts to enhance incomes and raise living standards. This collection of sixteen papers by experts with considerable experience in the field emanates from the International Conference on Microenterprises held in Washington DC, USA, sponsored by the Committee of Donor Agencies for Small Enterprise Development on 6-9 June 1988.
It is organized according to the major issues relating to the subject: the structure of the microenterprise sector, government policies towards microenterprises, informal credit markets, financial and technical services, institutional aspects and a review of the experience of assistance projects. This publication should be of great interest and value to all concerned in increasing assistance to the development of microenterprises in developing countries.