FinDev Guide

FinDev COVID-19 Update | 22 Apr - 05 May 2021

Roundup of the most relevant coronavirus-related resources for the microfinance and financial inclusion community
Farmer with a slasher on his shoulder. Photo by John Paul Relativo, 2015 CGAP Photo Contest.

FinDev Gateway has created this COVID-19 Update with the latest and most relevant knowledge resources for financial inclusion. Sign up here if you'd like to get this update delivered to your inbox. 

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Global Update

  • The microfinance sector remains resilient, according to a recent analysis by CGAP and Symbiotics. While MFI portfolios grew, the number of borrowers stayed stagnant as microfinance institutions hesitate to onboard new clients during the crisis.
  • COVID-19 will lead to a higher increase in inequality compared to previous pandemics and financial crises, according to IMF, which also projects substantial declines in GDP, high unemployment, and an increase in public debt through 2025.





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

  • A growing number of small vendors in Kenya’s slums are turning to credit unions and savings groups to access capital, attracted by collateral-free loans at a time when traditional financial institutions are increasing collateral requirements and interest rates to limit their exposure to MSMEs during the economic downturn. 
  • Mobile money penetration in Togo reached 62 percent of the population in January 2021, an increase of 7 percent from last April, due largely to the social protection program Novissi, which granted emergency funds to 820,000 people and turned mobile phones into electronic wallets. 
  • In Nigeria, microfinance banks recorded an 82 percent increase in lending in 2020. Demand for loans spiked during the COVID-19 lockdowns, with most borrowing happening through mobile phones or email exchange. 
  • A quarter of MSMEs in Lagos, Nigeria have had their business negatively affected by a climate shock in the last five years and are now experiencing a slower recovery from COVID-19 compared to peers who did not experience a climate shock, according to a CFI survey.

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


Latin America and the Caribbean

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

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


Arab World

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

  • After pausing in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Arab Financial Inclusion Innovation Prize returns for a third edition in 2021 to reward innovative solutions that can make financial services more accessible and affordable for low-income individuals and MSMEs in the Arab world.
  • A new partnership between the fintech company PayBy and UAE payment system NT.Payments will give users access to a range of digital financial services, including paying bills, transferring money and converting cash to digital money.
  • Financing to microenterprises in Egypt grew by 17 percent in 2020 from the previous year; 62 percent of the 3.1 million beneficiaries were women.
  • The global Islamic finance sector is expected to grow between 10 and 12 percent in 2021 and 2022, according to credit rating agency Standard & Boozer, due to an increase in issuing sukuks (Islamic-compliant bonds) and a modest economic recovery in major Islamic financial markets. 

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

COVID-19 Resources

“Covid-19” image by Prachatai. Used with permission.

COVID-19 Resource Hub

A collective space for the financial inclusion community to share experiences and lessons learned from the pandemic

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


Blogs & Opinion

If you have a blog idea and would like to write for the FinDev Blog, please 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 COVID-19 Update, you can send it to us using our contact form

COVID-19 Is Showing Small Businesses the Benefits of Digital Financial Services: Here Are Three Ways Providers Can Use Data to Better Serve Them

BlueOrchard Brief: Why Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Affecting Poor Countries More and What Is Needed to Support Them?

Climate Change is Exacerbating Obstacles to COVID-19 Recovery for MSMEs in Nigeria


Ending Remittance Hidden Fees: The International Community Calls for Action

Cross-Border Payments Are a Lifeline for Some. This Is Why They Should Be Available to All


Recent Publications

Do you have a publication to add to this list? Share your work on FinDev Gateway. 

Resilient Microfinance Industry Signals Path Toward Cautious, Gradual Recovery

Impact of COVID-19 on Fintechs: Senegal

Impact of COVID-19 on Fintechs: Côte d’Ivoire

An Update on the Short-Term Impacts of COVID-19 on the Malawian Economy, 2020–2021


View All Publications Related to COVID-19 >



Fight Against India's COVID-19 Second Wave: UAE Firms Waive Charges on Remittances

IFC Provides $30M to BRAC Bank to Support Businesses During COVID-19


View All News Related to COVID-19 >


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