Compares user-owned or ''common-bond'' MFIs in West and East Africa with special emphasis on the savings services they provide. The Caisses Mutuel and the Caisses Villegoises of West Africa are recognised internationally as successful MFIs operating in some of the most difficult environments. In addition, many of these West African MFIs have been delivering savings services to their clients as an integral part of their systems. At the same time, the vast majority of financial services for the poor in East Africa are provided by Savings and Credit Co-operatives (SACCOs) or Credit Unions, but the work, capabilities, strengths and weaknesses of these remains largely unexplored and poorly documented. This report is also available in French.