CGAP Launches Global Microfinance Survey to Inform COVID-19 Response
CGAP has launched a biweekly survey of microfinance institutions (MFIs) around the world. The survey is intended to gather data that MFI management teams, funders and policy makers all need to help these institutions and their low-income clients weather the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis.
The formal microfinance sector provides at least 140 million low-income people worldwide with credit and savings services. As of 2018, the sector had a combined portfolio of $124 billion in outstanding loans and $80 billion in savings. Roughly 80 percent of the sector's customers are women, and 65 percent live in rural areas.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for many of these borrowers to repay their loans, putting enormous strain on the sector. Funders are responding with urgency and resolve to support microfinance providers and their clients, but there is a need for better data on how the crisis is unfolding, which institutions are being hit the hardest, and what measures seem to be working. While many investors and microfinance networks are collecting data on the MFIs they work with, none capture the full picture at a global, regional and national levels.
CGAP aims to fill this gap by launching a 15-minute, biweekly survey of microfinance institutions around the world. The survey covers key indicators of the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on demand, liquidity and solvency; response measures taken by the institutions; and the effects of public policy response measures.
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