FinDev Guide

Top Ten Publications of 2020

A look at what the FinDev community was reading over the past year
Photo by Fadkus Soim, 2016 CGAP Photo Contest.

2020 was quite a year. The COVID-19 pandemic was of course the biggest story of the year and the global financial inclusion community was hungry for data on the impact of the crisis as well as guidance on how to manage it. Seven out of the top ten publications of 2020 were directly related to COVID-19 - covering the impact on MFIs, MSMEs and the global financial system, responses by governments and financial institutions, and a rescue plan for the sector.

There were other topics covered besides the pandemic in 2020, and the three remaining top publications reflect important trends in the sector - a focus on fintech, digital finance and how gendered social norms affect financial inclusion. Check out the list and catch up on your reading as we start the new year!

Philippines: Impact of COVID-19 on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises

The extended community quarantine imposed by the government to contain the spread of COVID-19 has adversely affected micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Philippines. This report highlights the nature and extent of the impact of COVID-19 on the cash-flows, business operations, and supply chains of these MSMEs. 

COVID19: A Framework for the Microfinance Sector

This note outlines a strategy for the rescue of the microfinance sector (MFS) due to distress caused by the twin health and economic crises. The strategy is based on the authors’ experience with a wide variety of economic and financial crises over the past 30 years - including crises in various East Asian countries, Turkey, Mexico, Argentina, the sovereign debt crises of the 1980s and 1990s - and the efforts to address these episodes by the U.S. Treasury, Federal Reserve, World Bank, IMF and other official and private institutions.

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs): Kenya Report

This report provides a detailed country-level view of the impact of COVID-19 on micro, small, and medium enterprises in Kenya. It also highlights their coping strategies and provides recommendations for policymakers and financial service providers to support them.

Managing Through the COVID-19 Pandemic: How Financial Firms are Responding

The focus of this paper is on how the financial services industry has been responding to date to the pandemic with an emphasis on the role of business continuity plans – which include measures for possible pandemics. 

Gendered Social Norms in Financial Inclusion

This paper provides background research for the CGAP Blog post, Personas Show How Social Norms Impact Women’s Financial Inclusion (December 2020). The influence of gendered social norms has not been systematically analyzed or widely incorporated into financial inclusion programming. This diagnostic aims to identify social norms that affect how women access, use, and benefit from financial services. The goal is to guide practitioners toward a better understanding of the underlying dynamics. 

Could the Poor Bank on Stablecoins?

Emerging technology is driving optimism about building a more inclusive digital economy. Will one innovation—a digital asset known as stablecoins—expand access to financial services among the poor? To encourage further study and dialogue, this note explores five open questions about whether stablecoins could promote financial inclusion in lower- and middle-income countries.

Impact of COVID-19 on the Global Financial System

The World Economic Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Financial and Monetary Systems convened several virtual roundtables at the onset of the pandemic—with stakeholders from banks, asset managers, fintechs, insurers, investors, international organizations, and central banks—to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on the global financial system. This briefing summarizes the outcomes of these initial discussions, highlighting participants’ views on financial developments and on the highest priorities for policy-makers moving forward.

Impact of COVID-19 on MFIs in Indonesia: A Rapid Assessment

This study is expected to inform stakeholders on ways to provide support to microfinance institutions (MFIs) so that they can continue their work, sustain their own business and extend financing to low-income households and microbusinesses.

Policy, Regulatory, and Supervisory COVID-19 Responses for Microfinance

These four notes, which provide background research for the CGAP paper, Microfinance and COVID-19: A Framework for Regulatory Response, focus on policy and regulatory responses adopted by financial authorities in four countries: India, Pakistan, Peru, and Uganda. Responses include measures enabling microfinance providers (MFPs) to operate safely, providing temporary relief to clients, increasing MFPs’ access to liquidity, and simplifying supervisory processes where appropriate. 

FinTech Landscaping in the Arab World

This landscaping study, prepared for CGAP with funding provided by MetLife Foundation, presents the research behind the CGAP Blog, "How Fintechs Could Digitize Store Credit in the Arab World" (December 2019). It offers a high-level analysis of the Arab World’s fintech ecosystem and the ability of fintechs to reach financially excluded groups, such as women, youth, refugees, small and medium enterprises, and low-income individuals.

And now we put the question to you, our readers: Which publications were your favorites from last year? Let us know in the comments section below.

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