FinDev Guide

COVID-19 FinDev Weekly Update | 25 Jun - 01 Jul 2020

Roundup of the most relevant coronavirus-related resources for the microfinance and financial inclusion community
Boats on a river. Photo by Sudipta Das, 2015 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. 

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Global Summary

  • Donor and government plans for coronavirus recovery understate the potential impact of the crisis in reversing the gains made on gender equality over many years, according to a new brief by ISF Advisors & RAF Learning Lab. The analysis shows how the crisis might affect the rural, informal micro-enterprises which are often disproportionately run by women.
  • Healthcare out-of-pocket expenses are a major burden for households in low- and middle-income countries, according to a recent CGAP blog. To address this, the financial inclusion community should focus on solutions that build poor people’s resilience through insurance, credit, and digital payments.
  • Solar payment data from Bboxx in four African countries shows that energy spending for up to 20 percent of Bboxx’s customers has significantly decreased, likely due to the impact of the pandemic on household finances.  



  • Sri Lanka’s Hatton National Bank has reported a 15 percent year-on-year increase in digital remittances and a 10 percent year-on-year increase in cardless ATM withdrawals over the past three months during coronavirus lockdown. In India, after an initial decline, digital payments are back to pre-COVID levels
  • In Nepal, IFAD and the UN migration agency IOM are supporting migrants forced to return home as jobs abroad dry up.
  • The sharp decline in remittances to Myanmar is having a significant impact on poor and low-income households, many of whom will be pushed into poverty and food insecurity. The government recently announced relief measures which include unconditional cash and in-kind transfers to the most vulnerable and affected households.
  • An MSC survey on MSMEs in India shows the impact and coping strategies of MSMEs and provides policy recommendations to support the sector. Reduced demand and disrupted supply chains have affected MSME income, though some businesses have benefited from customer bulk buying.


  • Zimbabwe banned mobile money services amid a local currency crisis. “On Monday, EcoCash, the largest mobile payment company announced that individual transactions and bill payments would still be permitted.”
  • In Uganda, shared agent networks allow customers to access banking services regardless of which provider’s agent they visit.
  • IFC extended a $50 million loan to Nigeria’s First City Monument Bank (FCMB) to ensure SMEs continue to have access to finance during the pandemic.
  • The West African Development Bank (BOAD) has launched a program to refinance lending institutions in the West African Economic and Monetary Union. The program will help address SMEs’ liquidity needs. 
  • The Central Bank of Uganda says that over half of Uganda’s commercial banks would have collapsed had the Central Bank mandated a three-month loan moratorium at the beginning of the pandemic, based on the results of a stress test it conducted.

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

Latin America and the Caribbean

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

  • The Central Bank of Brazil announced that its instant payment platform Pix will allow cash withdrawals in retail stores. Pix is expected to take off in November or earlier, while WhatsApp payments have been suspended.
  • In Argentina, state-owned banks will team up with commercial banks to create a digital payments platform that will serve over 10 million customers, competing with the country’s largest platform, Mercado Pago.
  • Rappi (an on-demand delivery startup) and Banorte (a top Mexican bank) joined forces to create a fintech that will seek a full banking license and will focus on customers in need of digital services.
  • The Peruvian Congress has asked the Central Bank to direct at least 50 percent of loans from the country’s national economic recovery program to microfinance institutions. The Central Bank says the requirement is unconstitutional. 

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

Arab World

  • The World Bank recently launched a $374 million project, co-financed with the UK Department for International Development (DFID), that will benefit 270,000 poor households with cash payments in Jordan.The Bank also approved a $500 million project for Morocco that will support the country’s financial inclusion and digital inclusion reforms.
  • Telecommunications company Ooredoo Tunisia and the microfinance institution, ENDA Tamweel, signed a partnership agreement that will enable them to expand their market reach.

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


New Data Sources

View our complete Data Tracker listing most important sources and trackers by the level of their relevance to the sector.

Results Dashboard: CGAP Pulse Survey of Microfinance Institutions

This interactive dashboard allows you to explore the publicly available results of the CGAP Pulse Survey of Microfinance Institutions. Launched on 1 June 2020 and conducted every two weeks, the survey provides a high-level picture of how COVID-19 is impacting the microfinance sector at the global, regional, and national levels.

Recent Publications

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

Rural, Informal Micro-Entrepreneurs at the Heart of Community Resilience
This brief looks at how the COVID-19 crisis will impact rural, informal micro-enterprises that are at the heart of community financial liquidity. 

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)
This report discusses the nature and extent of the impact of this pandemic on the cash-flows, business operations, and supply chains of MSMEs.

COVID-19 and Remittances in Africa
This report shares insights on the potential economic implications of the COVID-19 crisis by focusing on its implications for migrant remittances in Africa. 

One Million or One Hundred Million Casualties? – The Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on the Least Developed and Developing Countries
This study proposes five policy measures to mitigate the most severe impacts of the crisis on low- and middle-income countries.

Migration and the Diffusion of COVID-19 in South Asia

This paper integrates survey data and district-day data on coronavirus cases from India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan to quantify the connection between reverse-migration patterns and confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Annual Economic Report

This publication looks at central banks' policy responses as the pandemic inflicted a devastating blow to the global economy.

Addressing COVID-19 Pandemic
The study assesses the COVID response of Indian states and the impact on the ground of the different social assistance schemes of central and state governments.

Using Comics for COVID-19 Awareness
These training comics, developed for MFI employees, clients and cash in/cash out (CICO) agents create awareness of the dangers of COVID-19 and precautions that should be taken.


View All Publications Related 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

Digital Finance

Digital Financial Inclusion in the Times of COVID-19

Easy Come, Easy Go: Customer Churn Amid COVID

COVID-19 Has Made MFI Digital Transformation Even More Urgent: How Can Funders Help?

Socio-Economic Impact

Ensuring Women’s Access to Cash Transfers in the Wake of COVID-19

How to Strengthen the Finances of the Vulnerable Population Against the Crisis

The Impact of COVID-19 as Seen in Solar Payment Data – and How One Off-Grid Energy Company is Responding

Impacts of COVID-19 on Women and MSMEs in Zimbabwe

Significant Economic Impacts Due to COVID-19 and Falling Remittances in Myanmar

SMEs in Africa

Africa’s COVID-19 Moment: How Youth Startups Are Addressing the Pandemic – And What They Need to Reach the Next Level

Supporting Women-Led Businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa During COVID-19: Strategies to Survive and Thrive

Health Finance

Financial Services for Health: Treating the Cause


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

JULO Support for Customers During COVID-19 Pandemic

Supporting Nepal’s Migrants, as Overseas Work Dries Up

COVID-19 Creates Opportunities for Mass Adoption of Fintech in Bulgaria


View All 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: Resource Mobilization and Opportunities in the Rural Economy for Microfinance Institutions

Using Customer Insights to Drive Your Crisis Response: A Conversation with Al Majmoua (Lebanon) and VisionFund International

Microfinance and COVID-19 in Pakistan: What Happens After Lockdown?

The Economic Impact of COVID-19: Results of a Global Survey of Microfinance Customers


View All Events Related to COVID-19 >

View All Webinar Recordings >

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