Microfinance and COVID-19 in Pakistan: What Happens After Lockdown?
Pakistan’s microfinance sector faces a crisis unlike anything it has experienced before. The COVID-19 pandemic threatens 7.3 million low-income Pakistani households that rely on microfinance institutions for access to capital and other financial services. Economists Muhammad Meki, Farah Said, and coauthors in Pakistan, surveyed 1,000 microfinance clients in Punjab, Sindh, and Kashmir regions one week after the country’s lockdown began.
This webinar presents results from the survey, as well as interviews with the microfinance institutions that serve these clients, for a detailed picture of the impact of Pakistan’s lockdown on households and the industry overall.
As Pakistan now moves to reopen the economy, the following questions arise:
- How will borrowers fare and how will microfinance institutions recover?
- How does the experience of Pakistan’s microfinance sector compare to other countries?
- What lessons can we learn from Pakistan's experience?
Muhammad Meki is a researcher in development economics at the University of Oxford, where he holds a joint position between the Department of International Development and the Centre for Islamic Studies. He completed his PhD in 2018 from the University of Oxford, where he also held a post-doctoral research fellowship until 2020. He has previously completed postgraduate degrees in Finance (MSc, London School of Economics), Economics (PGDip, Cambridge), and Economics for Development (MSc, Oxford). His research focuses on the investment and growth of microenterprises in developing countries, and he has conducted work in Pakistan, Kenya, and Bangladesh.
Farah Said is an Assistant Professor at the Lahore School of Economics, and a Research Fellow at the Centre for Research in Economics and Business (CREB). She holds a PhD in Economics from the Lahore School of Economics, as well as a postgraduate degree in Financial Economics (MSc, University of Oxford). Her research focuses on development economics, applied microeconomics, behavioral economics, and gender.
Tim is Managing Director of the Financial Access Initiative, a research initiative exploring how financial services can better meet the needs and improve the lives of poor households. He also serves as the managing director of the US Financial Diaries project. He is a co-founder of Sona Partners, a thought leadership communications firm. Tim is the author of Experimental Conversations, a collection of interviews with leading development economists, co-author of Toyota Under Fire, a regular contributor to Stanford Social Innovation Review and a Contributing Editor of Alliance Magazine. He has developed, written and edited more than 20 books on topics including leadership, marketing, operations, finance and international aid & development.
Rebecca Rouse (Moderator)
Rebecca Rouse directs IPA's Financial Inclusion Program, overseeing a portfolio of research initiatives and randomized evaluations to find effective solutions to help the poor manage and grow their money. She has more than fifteen years of experience working in financial inclusion, including as the coordinator of the Inter-American Development Bank’s Regional Facility on Remittances and Savings. Rebecca holds an MPA from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.