FinDev Guide

FinDev COVID-19 Update | 26 Aug - 08 Sep 2021

Roundup of the most relevant coronavirus-related resources for the microfinance and financial inclusion community
Women sitting in a circle together make pickles with spices and herbs, Pakistan.

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  • India’s largest non-bank microfinance institution, CreditAccess Grameen Ltd, reported that disbursement returned to pre-pandemic levels in August, with a year-on-year increase of 200 percent. Collection efficiency and asset quality also improved, indicating that the impact of the second wave of COVID-19 could be waning.
  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and impact investor BlueOrchard Finance Ltd have signed a $50 million risk-sharing agreement to support microfinance recovery in the region. 
  • The fintech industry in Indonesia has grown rapidly during the pandemic. Digital transactions in Indonesia reached $9.2 billion in the first half of 2021, up 41 percent from the same period last year, as local fintechs, including digital wallet providers DANA, OVO and GoPay, and peer-to-peer lending firm Investree, reported significant growth.



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

  • The Tanzanian government reduced the tax on mobile money by 30 percent after consumers complained that the new tax, which was introduced in July, made transaction costs too high.
  • Despite the unprecedented social protection response during the COVID-19 crisis, the pandemic has deepened regional inequalities in social protection. In Africa, only 17.4 percent of the population is covered by at least one social protection benefit, far behind the Arab World (40 percent) and Asia and the Pacific (44.1 percent).
  • The Senegal-based mobile money startup Wave has become the first unicorn from francophone Africa, raising over $1 billion. Mobile money is becoming increasingly popular in the region amid the pandemic in places like Côte d’Ivoire where the lack of convenience of traditional banks is pushing the growth of mobile money.

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.

  • On El Salvador’s first day with bitcoin as legal tender, the cyber-currency fell by 10.1 percent in the cybermarket. Technical problems and street protests also marred the launch, with protesters worried about the currency’s volatility and the possibility that its use may become mandatory.
  • A new working paper by the IMF says that there is no clear evidence that fintech developments have supported greater financial inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Savings in cooperatives reached historic levels in Mexico in the first half of 2021, according to regulator data. A previous study by BFA Global highlighted that cooperatives in the country have played a fundamental role in helping their members stay afloat during the pandemic given their close relationship with clients.
  • In Colombia, 69 percent of all financial sector transactions were made via digital channels in the first half of 2021, as the pandemic helped accelerate digital adoption in the country.
  • The Brazilian digital bank Nubank has acquired payment fintech Spin Pay, a local firm that supports e-commerce transactions using the country's PIX instant payments platform. E-commerce in Brazil has soared since the beginning of the pandemic. Over the last 12 months, 91 percent of Brazilians made at least one online purchase.  

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.

  • Saudi banks have so far helped the country's small businesses with more than $4 billion to get them through the height of the pandemic. Lending to SMEs between the first quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of the current year increased by about 40 percent.
  • The Tunisian Professional Association of Banks and Financial Institutions has responded to a call by the Tunisian president to lower interest rates and better support SMEs during the pandemic, by announcing new measures that include an interest rate cap on new short-term loans.
  • The Lebanese pound has depreciated more than 90 percent in less than two years, affecting the provision of essential services, including at hospitals, and the purchasing power of thousands of families.

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



Recent Publications

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

The Opportunity for Digital and E-commerce Payments in the Pacific Region

World Social Protection Report 2020-22: Social Protection at the Crossroads – In Pursuit of a Better Future

Lives and Livelihoods : Estimates of the Global Mortality and Poverty Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Finding Product-Market Fit and Improving Operations During COVID


View All Publications Related to COVID-19 >

Events & Webinar Recordings

SAM: Africa Microfinance Week

Recording: Women-Owned Enterprises Amid COVID-19: Strategies to Support Their Survival, Revival, and Recovery


View All Upcoming Events Related to COVID-19 >

View All Webinar Recordings>

View All News Related to COVID-19 >

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