FinDev Guide

COVID-19 FinDev Weekly Update | 24-30 April 2020

Roundup of the most relevant coronavirus-related resources for the microfinance and financial inclusion community
Woman carrying buckets. Photo by Pyae Phyo Thet Paing, 2017 CGAP Photo Contest.

FinDev Gateway has created this COVID-19 weekly update with the latest and most relevant knowledge resources for financial inclusion as they become available. Sign up to receive FinDev's weekly update each Friday with a summary of the main issues covered during the week. 

If you have content to share in our weekly update, please submit here or contact us directly.

Weekly Summary

  • Investors issue a coordinated response to COVID-19. Nine Microfinance Investment Vehicles (MIVs) with $15 billion of assets under management, invested in more than 80 emerging markets, have signed a memorandum of understanding on debt refinancing to support the microfinance sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. The European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) calls on the financial inclusion community to engage in discussion on this topic.

  • How long can MFIs survive before the money runs out? A recent analysis by Daniel Rozas of the e-MFP finds that nearly 34 percent of small, credit-only MFIs, with total assets of less than $5 million, would not survive for more than one month in a full shutdown. On the other hand,  more than half of deposit-taking MFIs could cover three months of operating expenses and at least 20 percent of deposits.  

  • Growing concerns over an impending global humanitarian and food crisis. The World Food Program warns that 265 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of the year. An analysis by ISF Advisors and the Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab shows how COVID-19 crisis might push rural families back into extreme poverty and cause food crises and instability. Authors call for careful government treatment of last mile credit lines and protection of financial access for the most vulnerable to avoid a collapse of rural credit markets. The World Bank’s AgriFin program is conducting a survey in English and French to gather observations related to the impact of COVID-19 on agriculture finance.  


  • Across Asia, governments are encouraging the switch to digital payments. China rolled out a digital currency, and the Philippines Central Bank urged citizens to take advantage of e-payment services such as PESONet and InstaPay. Remittance senders are using digital options, such as Bangladesh’s bKash—an online-to-wallet money transfer service.

  • A recent analysis by the Yale Economic Growth Center finds that more than half of poor women in India who lack access to a bank account or ration card may not be included in the government’s emergency COVID-19 relief cash transfer program. Authors argue that in such cases distributing food may be more effective than cash transfers.

  • After the Reserve Bank of India issued a three-month loan moratorium due to COVID-19, MFIs are struggling to contact some of their borrowers, and are appealing to the Securities and Exchange Board of India to instruct credit rating agencies to delay ratings for three months.

  • Fintechs in the region are gathering support. Hong Kong alternative lender Oriente raised $50 million to expand to new markets such as Vietnam. Singapore Fintech Association Support partnered with Razer Fintech, a Southeast Asian offline-to-online digital payment network, to leverage Razer’s $50 million COVID-19 Support Fund.

  • As part of its overall funding of $20 billion for COVID-19 responses in the region, Asia Development Bank announced it would provide $200 million to support the Philippine government’s effort to provide emergency cash subsidies to vulnerable households, and $1.5 billion for India to support priorities such as disease containment and prevention, as well as social protection. 


Some articles and knowledge resources referenced in this section are in French.

  • The Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) has announced a series of measures to support the microfinance sector. Bank loans granted to MFIs are now eligible for Central Bank refinancing; MFIs can extend the maturity of their clients' loans without interest or penalties.

  • Protecting employees and clients is crucial in crisis management. This guide (in French) offers best practice examples for managing human resources and customer relations during and after a crisis. 

  • Food prices have risen in several countries, including Zimbabwe and Burkina Faso. Logistics and social distancing measures have put pressure on food supply chains, particularly in cities. Digital agriculture can ease this adverse impact and help smallholders by improving infrastructure and delivery systems.

  • In some countries, governments are starting to ease lockdowns. After increasing testing capacity, Ghana is now easing the restrictions. Nigeria will ease measures in several states starting 4 May. In Burkina Faso, merchants protested, demanding reopening of local markets. South Africa will start to lift lockdown measures on 1 May. 

  • In Nigeria, some tech startups are creating welfare initiatives to help those affected by the lockdown through crowdfunding platforms. The Nigerian government has provided cash relief to 3.6 million households.

For more on Africa, check out the latest Portail FinDev Weekly Update in French

Latin American and the Caribbean 

Most articles and knowledge resources referenced in this section are in Spanish.

  • As cash transfer programs continue to expand in Latin America, the Cash Learning Partnership says that measuring the impact of such programs is important both to determine their effectiveness and guide future policy decisions.

  • In Peru, thousands of people are returning to the countryside due to lack of work and fear of hunger, reversing a long trend of urban migration, and raising fears about the spread of virus in rural areas.

  • In Colombia, the Government partnered with Tpaga, a fintech firm, to facilitate individual donations to families that are unable to pay their public electric bill.

  • Although LAC experienced a record year of deals and funding for fintech, future access to capital for these firms is expected to decline due to the pandemic.

  • Cyber risks for financial services in LAC have risen since the outbreak. Banks have adopted a range of measures, including raising awareness among clients and staff about these new challenges. 

  • The Central America and Caribbean MFI Network (REDCAMIF) and Portal FinDev are planning a webinar highlighting lessons on how digital transformation has positioned financial institutions to better serve their clients during the pandemic. 

For more on LAC, check out the latest Portal FinDev Weekly Update in Spanish

Arab World

  • In Lebanon, violent protests erupted this week targeting banks as the Lebanese currency collapsed.  

  • Egypt is asking the IMF for emergency financing under the Fund’s Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) and a Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). 

  • In Morocco, a special G2P plan targets 4.3 million households headed by informal workers who have lost their jobs due to the lockdown.  

  • As Jordan eases its lockdown, MFIs are opening this week, but under strict health and safety measures. 

  • The Council  of Arab Central Banks and Monetary Authorities Governors issued a statement on 27 April - which marks Arab Financial Inclusion Day - about the importance of expanding digital financial literacy to help with access to financial services in the region.

For more on the Arab world and resources in Arabic, check out the latest FinDev Weekly Update in Arabic.

COVID-19 Resources

Man on a boat with a lantern. Photo by Uttam Kamati, 2017 CGAP Photo Contest.

Global Community Response to COVID-19

A list of organizations offering resources and insights on COVID-19 & microfinance

FinDev Guide to Data - Tracking the Global Response to COVID-19

FinDev Coronavirus Data Tracker

Data relevant for financial inclusion - find out who is tracking what

Discussion Forum

Discussion Forum

Forum for the financial inclusion sector to discuss responses to COVID-19


Blogs & Opinion

If you have a blog idea and would like to write for the FinDev Blog, please see our review our guidelines. We do not cross-post blogs that have been published elsewhere, but if you wish to share an existing blog post in our next FinDev Weekly Update, you can send it to us using our contact form

Microfinance Sector Response

Diary of a Myanmar-Based, Agri-Focused FSP Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis

Using Data to Elevate the Customer Perspective as FSPs Respond to COVID-19

How Long Can Microfinance Institutions Last the Liquidity Crunch? An Analysis of the Data

Financial Consumer Protections in Unprecedented Times

Socio-Economic Impact

Innovations and Coping Strategies for Food Security at the Time of COVID-19

Vulnerable Households at the Edge of the Pandemic

Will COVID-19 Make or Break Community-Based Finance?

Five Findings From a New Phone Survey in Senegal

The Impact of COVID-19 on Financial Lives in Eight Countries, Over Two Weeks

Social Protection

Why Gender-Sensitive Social Protection Is Critical to the COVID-19 Response in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Social Protection for Migrants During the COVID-19 Crisis: The Right and Smart Choice

Digital Finance

Kenya’s Expansion of G2P Becomes Lifeline During COVID-19 Crisis

DFS: An Effective Response Tool to COVID-19

The Informal Economy is Complicating Government Responses to COVID-19: Will the Crisis Push Millions Toward Formality?

Agent Networks: Vital to COVID-19 Response, in Need of Support

Stay at Home! Savings, Contingencies and Electronic Wallet Use

Using What You Have to Scale Up Payments for COVID Response: Early Indications From South Asia


Recent Publications

For a complete list of publications and to learn how you can share your research with us, visit FinDev's Publications page.

Mobile Money Recommendations to Central Banks in Response to COVID-19

How can regulators ensure that measures taken during the pandemic do not impair the long-term sustainability of mobile money business?

COVID-19 Could Condemn Women to Decades of Poverty

This study reveals how the global pandemic is having a real and immediate economic impact on women in the developing world.

A Majority of India’s Poor Women May Miss COVID-19 PMJDY Cash Transfers

This brief  discusses some ideas for how to increase access to the social safety net during a crisis.

COVID-19 Crisis Through a Migration Lens

Update on migration and remittance flows as well as salient policy developments in the area of migration and development.

2020 - Global Report on Food Crises

Analysis of the drivers that are contributing to food crises across the globe, and examines how the COVID-19 pandemic might contribute to their perpetuation or deterioration.

View All Publications Related to COVID-19 >


New Data Sources and Information Hubs 

View the full list of COVID-19 data sources on the FinDev Data Tracker, and find more resources on our list of information hubs.

COVID-19 Africa Watch

The goal of this site is to showcase what is happening in the region, select and highlight the best impact analysis, and provide a single hub of data and comparative tools.

BIS: Coronavirus (Covid-19)

This page gathers relevant work produced by the BIS, its hosted committees and its stakeholders on the implications of the pandemic for the financial sector and the wider economy.

View All Organizations Offering Resources Related to COVID-19 >

View All Data Sources Related to COVID-19 >



For the latest news on the impact of coronavirus on financial inclusion, visit our News listing pages.

Cambodian Workers Owe $10 Billion in Microfinance Debt as COVID-19 Wipes out Incomes

With many Cambodians out of work, COVID-19 is also throwing another problem into sharp relief: that of precariously high microfinance debt.

SIDBI Extends Loan Repayment Term to 1-Year for NBFCs, MFIs

Small Industries Development Bank of India has extended the repayment period of loans to non-banking finance companies and microfinance institutions to one year from the 90-day period earlier.

Leading Microfinance and Impact Fund Managers Sign an MOUon Debt Refinancing Coordination Principles to Support the Sector During the COVID-19 Pandemic

BlueOrchard, Developing World Markets, Incofin, Microvest, Oikocredit, responsAbility, Triodos IM, Triple Jump and Symbiotics have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for coordination in response to COVID-19.

Mastercard Builds on COVID-19 Response with Commitment to Connect 1 Billion People to the Digital Economy by 2025

Mastercard this week expanded its worldwide commitment to financial inclusion, pledging to bring a total of 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025.

Singapore Fintech Association and Razer Fintech Partnered to Support Singapore's Fintech Industry Amid the Pandemic

The partnership aims to address key issues facing the industry, including business continuity, lack of funding, and brand awareness.

Saudi G20 Presidency and the Bank for International Settlements Innovation Hub Invite Global Innovators to Find Solutions to the Most Pressing Financial Regulatory & Supervisory Challenges

TechSprint initiative will support the regulatory and supervisory responses against the COVID-19 pandemic.

View All Information News Related to COVID-19 >



For the latest events - hosted by organizations worldwide - exploring the impact of coronavirus on financial inclusion, visit our Events listing page.

COVID-19 | Managing Field Research With Social Distancing Under Lockdown

SPTF Webinar: The Fundamentals of Cyber Security

Unlocking Pension Fund Savings for COVID-19 Relief

Business Continuity Webinar Series - What Climate Disaster Insurance Can Teach Us About COVID-19?

View All Events Related to COVID-19 >

View All Webinar Recordings Related to COVID-19 >

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