Steven B. Macqueen was instrumental to the inclusion of microfinance in the national development and reconstruction strategy of Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. He came to Afghanistan in 2003 as the lead Advisor to the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), where microfinance was first established as a project. His dedication to providing poor Afghans access to finance to lift themselves out of poverty helped promote microfinance into a national social protection program widely supported by the Government of Afghanistan and international donors. His vision for the long-term sustainability of a program that helps the poor rely on their own came to fruition when what started out as a microfinance project within MRRD was transformed into what is now known as the Microfinance Investment Support Facility (MISFA). MISFA is now an autonomous apex organization overseeing the sustainability of some of the leading microfinance institutions in Afghanistan. MISFA’s history will have been different had it not been for his pivotal role.
Mr. Macqueen was well known in the development network in Afghanistan and was finishing out the last week of his assignment as the first Managing Director of MISFA in March 2005 when he was senselessly killed in an ambush. He will forever be missed by his family and friends, by MISFA, and the microfinance community in Afghanistan and beyond.