FinDev Guide

FinDev COVID-19 Update | 29 Jul - 11 Aug 2021

Roundup of the most relevant coronavirus-related resources for the microfinance and financial inclusion community
Photo by Bui Minh Son, 2013 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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  • Nearly one million Malaysian MSMEs have received funds since the start of the pandemic under the government’s Prihatin Special Grant program (GKP). Existing recipients and newly approved applicants will receive payments of $118 in September and November.
  • Women-led micro and small enterprises in Fiji, who were hit hard by the pandemic, will have access to a new digital wallet and payment acceptance platform being developed by Mastercard, the Australian Government, ygap and Fintech Pacific.
  • Between July 2020 and June 2021, MFIs in Pakistan reached 73 percent of their target for agricultural lending to small farmers. As of April 2021, 2 million borrowers in the agriculture and microfinance sectors had taken advantage of the option to defer principal and restructure their outstanding agricultural loans.
  • 66 percent of Filipinos had their income negatively impacted by COVID-19 in the second quarter of 2021, according to a TransUnion Consumer Pulse survey. 85 percent are concerned about paying their bills or loans, and almost half say they have at least one bill or loan they won’t be able to pay in full.



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

  • A new tax on mobile money in Tanzania, introduced to boost government revenues which have suffered due to the pandemic, has met with protest among consumers, who have stopped using the service due to the price increase. GSMA expressed concern about the possible adverse effect on financial inclusion, and business owners are worried about losing customers. The government has agreed to review the tax. 
  • In Uganda, a similar tax on mobile money, introduced in 2018, also caused users to avoid using the service. A new report by PHB Development and UNCDF on the impact of the tax in Uganda indicates that mobile money taxation is unhelpful to the economy and can limit financial inclusion. 
  • The Ugandan government is working on a plan to provide $1.8 billion in low-cost credit to small businesses struggling to overcome the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • In Mauritius, the Ministry of Industrial Development has partnered with the Mauritius Post to promote the usage of the Post’s e-commerce and online payment platform among SMEs and cooperatives. The aim is to help them keep up with the shift to digital, which was accelerated by the pandemic.

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.

  • In Argentina, cash use declined by 31 percent during the pandemic, and more than 12 million virtual accounts were created, according to the Argentine Chamber of Fintech.
  • Women in Mexico will have access to finance at lower interest rates after the regulator amended the methodology for estimating reserve provisions and credit portfolio rating of credit institutions, recognizing the lower risk incurred when lending to women.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic helped to accelerate e-commerce adoption in LAC and the crisis should be a wake-up call for the public and private sectors to join forces for more consistent, long-term and sustainable e-commerce strategies, says a new paper by the IDB.
  • 90 percent of Venezuelan migrants interviewed by CEMLA said that they have a checking or saving account in the country where they reside; on average, they sent 155 dollars per month in remittances to their home country in 2020.

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.

  • A $25 million fund from the World Bank will provide grants to 4,300 Lebanese micro and small enterprises to support their recovery from the Port of Beirut blast and the coronavirus pandemic, and will also support operational expenses of up to five MFIs.
  • The Financial Supervisory Authority in Egypt approved the adoption of nanofinance, a loan product that allows MFIs to offer financing up to $200 with a maximum repayment period of 90 days. The product aims to cover the needs of marginalized groups, including micro-entrepreneurs affected by the pandemic.
  • The unemployment rate in Morocco increased to 12.8 percent in the second quarter of 2021, and is now at its highest since the last quarter of 2001.

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.

The Resilience of Mobile Money in Sub-Saharan Africa

Feeling the Social Finance Vibe in Europe and Central Asia

Financial Inclusion During – And After – COVID-19: The 2021 Compass Survey Reveals the True Scale of the Challenges Ahead


Recent Publications

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

Central Bank Digital Currencies: A Potential Response to the Financial Inclusion Challenges of the Pacific

Financial Diaries: Financial Health of Low and Medium-Income Households During COVID-19 Pandemic

Female-Owned Firms During the COVID-19 Crisis

View All Publications Related to COVID-19 >


Boulder Online Digital Transformation of Microfinance Institutions Training Program

Social Finance Vibe 2021: Pandemic Reboot - MFC Annual Conference

View All Upcoming Events Related to COVID-19 >

View All Webinar Recordings>

View All News Related to COVID-19 >

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