Without access to basic financial services, Africans are at risk of remaining at the margins of economic opportunity with little hope of realizing their tremendous creative potential. In the past, most poor Africans relied on home- grown, often unreliable and exploitative traditional services in the form of deposit collectors and moneylenders. Now microfinance is a big part of the picture. Increasingly, more structured, flexible VSLAs are beginning to proliferate, and microfinance institutions that offer more diverse and sophisticated financial services to the poor are reaching more and more people. Financial services, and all that they portend for increased economic security, prosperity.