Ahmad Jazayeri controversially argues that that the ultimate beneficiaries of microfinance are mostly multinational corporations and their associated traders. He says that we know the bulk of microfinance does not finance agriculture or manufacturing for exports but goes mostly to petty urban trade and consumption. Since poverty is essentially a rural phenomenon (most urban poverty originates in rural poverty) and over 2/3 of the poor live in rural areas and are engaged in mostly subsistence agriculture, Jazayeri suggests that microfinance is maintaining an unsustainable and inequitable economy.
To make microfinance pro-poor, Jazayeri believes that what is needed is a pro-poor growth strategy for the economy, which focuses on rural farm and non-farm production. He thinks the principal constraints are transaction costs (especially information costs and contract enforcement costs). Information technology and organizational innovations especially links between producers, exporters and financiers are crucial and such linkages can play a huge role in a pro-poor growth strategy.