Microfinance Industry Report: Myanmar
This overview of the microfinance sector in Myanmar is based on an assessment by the Banking With the Poor Network (BWTP Network) of the Citi Network Strengthening Program.
Microfinance was first introduced to Myanmar in 1997 by the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Initiative. Characteristics of Myanmar’s microfinance sector include:
- Five international NGOs and one private company offer microfinance in the country, and are regulated by specific MoUs with the authorities;
- Microfinance currently services more than 385,000 clients, who are predominantly women, with a total portfolio of around USD 27 million;
- Central Bank of Myanmar is the supervisory and regulatory authority for all private and state-owned financial institutions;
- Commercial banks have shown little interest in microfinance;
- Products are designed to serve micro or small and medium enterprises (SME), develop agricultural activities, or enable poor household to meet primary needs;
- Range of products is quite developed, including insurance, healthcare, individual loans, and voluntary saving products.
In order to develop the sector further, donors must support development of microfinance as a key component of a broader poverty alleviation strategy. Government authorities need to develop a clear, specific body of regulation for microfinance.