Source: Instituto Nacional de Estadística de Guatemala
Such patterns can reveal opportunities to expand existing credit services or to provide new ones to people outside the market—though maps and figures are only a first step. To build a business case, more research is needed on what is behind these access patterns.
A closer look at the actual use of credit in Guatemala provides more information and might strengthen the case for a business opportunity. While only 19 percent of urban borrowers living on above US$2 a day use their loans for investment rather than consumption, 55 percent of rural borrowers living on less than US$2 a day invest their loans in agricultural and other business (figure 3). If formal credit is expanded for the rural poor and the distribution of spending remains the same, the loans will most likely be invested rather than consumed.
Figure 3. Opportunity: Estimates of the use of credit in Guatemala among households living on less or more than $2 a day (2000)
Again, more detailed context-specific analyses are required to understand credit demand among the poor. But the market heat maps offer useful signposts towards a better knowledge of these markets.