Developing a Cost-Benefit Analysis Tool: Experiences and Lessons from Malawi and Mozambique

This guide from USAID, demonstrates how a cost benefit analysis tool was designed by Opportunity International in order to compare and evaluate microfinance delivery channels.

"Which microfinance delivery models are most cost-effective? How can microfinance institutions identify the best use of limited resources to get the greatest outreach and highest impact? How can an organization be sure that it is apply­ing consistent, appropriate metrics across its delivery channels to evaluate organizational productivity and make sound investment decisions?

Cost-benefit analysis helps managers and other decision makers understand the cost and expected returns (in monetary terms) of a given decision. It can help them decide whether or not to undertake a proposed activity, or choose between different alternatives.1 Cost-benefit analysis tools make this analysis easier and more straightforward, for example, by graphing different alternatives or presenting data for comparison. `

Opportunity’s goal is to provide the rural and peri-urban poor with access to financial services. The organization uses different delivery channels—such as satellite and mobile branches—to achieve this goal. The cost-benefit analysis tool was therefore created to help decision-makers at Opportunity identify the most effective and cost-efficient ways of spending its resources to facilitate outreach to the poor." (Walden & Berger, 2009)


  • Tool Development
  • Guiding Principles for the Tool
  • Challenges in Developing the Cost-benefit Tool
  • Displaying the Data: Analysis Charts
  • Observations on Analysis Results
  • Potential Tool Upgrades
  • Recommendations for Other MFIs


Walden, N., & Berger, E. The SEEP Network and Opportunity International, (2009). Developing a cost-benefit analysis tool: Experiences and lessons from Malawi and Mozambique. Retrieved from website:

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Anonymous's picture
Andrew Gordon Boyle

I think the links are broken.

SimonDavies's picture
Simon Davies

Dear Andrew

Thank you for letting us know. We have now fixed the link to the resource, which you can find here.

Kind regards


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