FinDev Guide

FinDev COVID-19 Update | 13 - 26 Aug 2020

Roundup of the most relevant coronavirus-related resources for the microfinance and financial inclusion community
A fisherman on a boat talking on his mobile phone. Photo by Forhad Kamaly, 2013 CGAP Photo Contest.

FinDev Gateway has created this COVID-19 Update with the latest and most relevant knowledge resources for financial inclusion as they become available. Sign up to receive this update to your inbox as soon as it comes out. 

If you have content to share in our COVID-19 update, please submit here or contact us directly. 

Do you find the update useful? How often would you like to receive it? Take a moment to let us know >>                                                                                                   


  • A new analysis of data from CGAP’s Global Pulse Survey shows that about a third of MFIs have more "troubled portfolio" (includes PAR30 and restructured loans) than equity; an equal share of MFIs have said that they anticipate solvency issues in the next six months.  
  • As we better understand the impact of the global pandemic on financial institutions, more attention is being paid to recovery measures. The Toronto Centre has introduced new standards for recovery planning for financial institutions. In addition, MSC offers practical steps financial institutions can take to survive and recover from the economic effects of COVID-19.
  • The global pandemic could lead to a substantial consolidation in the off-grid solar (OGS) energy sector. Some OGS companies and investors argue that “consolidation can make scaling up access to energy easier”, though it may hurt small distributors, which have an advantage at reaching the last mile customers. Moreover, as MFIs focus on their own survival, the pandemic could weaken partnerships between them and OGS providers.
  • Phone surveys are being widely used to collect data during the global pandemic. The Innovation for Poverty Action answers key questions about using phone surveys in research; while they are generally less expensive than face-to-face surveys, response rates are considerably lower. In addition, remote surveys may experience coverage bias as their reach is limited to people who own or have access to a working, connected mobile phone.  


  • An M-CRIL analysis of small finance banks in India finds that the expected liquidity and delinquency issues caused by the pandemic are unlikely to cause serious problems with solvency. The Indian MFI network, MFIN, reported that in July, collections increased to 65-70 percent, from 35-40 percent in April, and are expected to continue to improve in August.
  • Remittances to Pakistan in July reached the highest ever amount for one month. The increase is believed to be due to Central Bank policies to encourage remittances during the pandemic, as well as workers having more funds available to send since COVID-19 prevented them from using them for the Muslim pilgrimage, the Hajj.
  • A recent report by IFPRI looks at the impact of COVID-19 on agricultural input retailers in Myanmar. While transport restrictions had eased by mid-June, the challenges of farmer demand and payment recovery still remained challenges.
  • Belstar Microfinance shared the results of a survey of its customer base in India, where 87 percent of the customers contacted reported either job losses or reduced income due to the pandemic.


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

  • The Bank of Ghana introduced a series of measures targeting MFIs, including providing cash to some institutions, reducing primary reserve ratios and reclassifying overdue loan repayments as current.
  • The Confederation of Financial Institutions of West Africa (CIF-AO) and the Federation of the Credit Unions of Burkina Faso (FCPB) announced the switch to a new banking transactional software that will allow users to make deposits, withdrawals and payments remotely
  • Togo is rolling out a $36 million credit line to support SMEs with a subsidized rate of 5 percent.
  • IPA’s RECOVR phone survey in Rwanda reveals that almost 80 percent of respondents have had to dip into their savings “to pay for food, healthcare or other expenses since February 2020.”
  • The South African insurer Santam plans to compensate clients for $60 million in damages incurred during the lockdown from late March to early May, most from business interruption in the tourism and catering industries. 
  • 69 percent of micro and small enterprises in Zambia reported a drop in business income since the beginning of the pandemic, according to a survey by FSD Zambia and BFA Global.

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

Latin America and the Caribbean

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

  • MFIs in Peru began a campaign this month to refinance delinquent loans, with some institutions offering a grace period of up to four months. Half a million MSMEs will benefit from this initiative. 
  • The use of digital wallets in Colombia has increased due to the pandemic; there are 15 different digital wallets in the financial market and the number is expected to double by the end of 2020.
  • New research by Stanford University and the World Bank suggests that interventions that seek to increase the adoption of e-payments among small retailers should address specific concerns of small retailers rather than offer traditional training that focuses on providing information. The research found that in Mexico, temporary discounts on commission fees and marketing campaigns on e-payments played an important role in e-payments adoption.
  • In Argentina, more than 28,000 small enterprises were forced to close in the first six months of the year; the pandemic exacerbated the crisis that the sector was already experiencing.
  • Bolivia approved a law that will defer loan repayments until 31 December, in an attempt to offer economic relief to families affected by the pandemic.

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

Arab World

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

  • In Sudan, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a 64 percent increase in person-to-person mobile transfers, according to Omer Omarabi, the General Manager of Electronic Banking Services Sudan. 
  • Algérie Poste, the state-owned company responsible for postal service in Algeria, launched on Saturday a new mobile payment service called "Barid pay" to facilitate electronic payments and limit the spread of COVID-19.  
  • Facing the COVID-19 pandemic, Qatar has committed to a national fintech strategy to diversify its economy, aiming to make significant investments in blockchain technology and considering a central bank digital currency.
  • In the UAE, the number of reopened small and medium-sized businesses on Facebook increased by 14 percent from May 2020, showing continued growth and resilience in the face of COVID-19, according to a new report by Facebook in collaboration with the World Bank and OECD.

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

Photo by Thao Vu Xuan, 2016 CGAP Photo Contest

COVID-19 Insights for Inclusive Finance

Collection of recent CGAP blogs and publications


Recent Publications

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

Global State of Small Business Report: Wave II Update

Financing Off-Grid Solar Energy Access

Recovery Planning

India’s SFBs and the Growth Pangs of the Pandemic

Monitoring the Impact of COVID-19 in Myanmar

Economic Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic in Ethiopia

COVID-19 Impact on Farm Households in Punjab, Pakistan: Analysis of Data From a Cross-Sectional Survey


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


Growth Pangs of the Pandemic

Microfinance and COVID-19: Is Insolvency on the Horizon?

How a Microfinance Organization Can Prepare for a Post-COVID World

COVID-19 Is Causing A Microcredit Crunch

Socioeconomic Impact

Learning From Emerging Markets Entrepreneurs During COVID-19: What Lockdowns Teach Us About Resilience

Zambian Micro- and Small Enterprises During COVID-19: Wave One Findings

The Reach of the COVID-19 Crisis in Rwanda: Lessons from the RECOVR Survey

What Do We Really Know about Phone Surveying in Low- and Middle-Income Countries?

Mitigating the Poverty Implications of COVID-19 in Afghanistan

MSMEs in Lagos Struggle Due to COVID-19, but Remain Positive


Financing “Missing Middle” Enterprises in the Age of COVID-19: Leveraging Nontraditional Finance Pathways in Emerging Markets

SME Investing With a Gender Lens: The Key To COVID-19 Recovery in Emerging Markets


Harnessing the Power of Digital ID

Remittances and Financial Inclusion: “Sending Money Home” in the COVID Era


Building Back Better: Designing Cash Transfers for Women’s Empowerment



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

How Credit Unions Are Putting Digital To Work for Their Members

COVID-19 Hits Remittances To Vietnam


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.

A Look at Liquidity Measures: COVID-19 and Inclusive Finance Policy

Digital Financial Inclusion


View All Events Related to COVID-19 >

View All Webinar Recordings >

Leave a Comment

Comments on this page are moderated by FinDev Editors. We welcome comments that offer remarks and insights that are relevant to the post. Learn More