The €100,000 European Microfinance Award 2020 “Encouraging Effective & Inclusive Savings” highlights the crucial role that savings can play for low-income and excluded populations, and how financial providers can encourage their effective and widespread use.

70 organisations from 37 countries applied for the 2020 Award and in October,  Buusaa Gonofaa Microfinance, Muktinath Bikas Bank and RENACA-Bénin were selected as the three finalists. On 19th November in an online ceremony held during European Microfinance Week, Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, President of the European Microfinance Award’s High Jury announced Muktinath Bikas Bank as the winner.

These three organisations each offer savings products and services that are demand-driven, encourage usage based on a genuine understanding of clients’ needs and behaviour, reach under-served populations who need these services the most, and ensure that the savings are accessible, affordable and useful.


Muktinath Bikas Bank (MBB) is a leading National Development Bank in Nepal with the social mission of financial inclusion of the community which serves poor households and low income women with a range of banking products. To reach its targeted population, MBB designed an adapted solidarity group savings model with doorstep services, encouraging positive savings activity via a combination of mandatory and interest-earning voluntary savings, including dedicated pension and insurance savings products, alongside extensive financial education.

Buusaa Gonofaa Microfinance (BG) is an Ethiopian MFI which offers credit, savings and agriculture value chain financing to poor population segments, especially women. BG was selected for its high-touch saving initiative called ‘Dejaf Iqub’, which offers a safe, easy and appealing way of saving through regular doorstep collection of goal-based small deposits. Dejaf Iqub targets informal microentrepreneur operators with active cash flows who run businesses in densely populated market centres.

RENACA-Bénin is a union of cooperatives in Benin which mainly targets low income and vulnerable populations predominantly in rural areas. RENACA’s savings initiative focuses on doorstep collection of local savings via a wide range of products (‘tontine’ doorstep models, term deposits and demand deposits), and promotion of savings through community savings and credit groups, supported by a mobile application and use of tablets for secure and trustworthy client transactions. These products are backed up by a wide range of financial education and other non-financial services.

Congratulations also to the 7 Award semi-finalists: Cooperativa Fondesurco of Peru; DSS Platform Ltd of Ghana; Fansoto of Senegal; Mobilink Micro-Finance Ltd of Pakistan; Opportunity Bank Serbia; RENEW Microfinance Private Ltd of Bhutan; and Ujjivan Small Finance Bank of India.

Learn more about the finalists and semifinalists, their outstanding innovations and the factors for success identified throughout the Selection Process in our publication (available in EN, FR & SP):

Further information

How an Ethiopian MFI Has Kept Its Focus on Savings in the Face of Great Challenges (interview FinDev Gateway, 23 June 2021)

Promouvoir l'épargne par le biais de solutions digitales : l'exemple de RENACA-Bénin (interview, Portail FinDev, 13 May 2021)

What the Pandemic Taught Us About Savings (interview FinDev Gateway, 14 April 2021)

Muktinath Bikas Bank Ltd., Winner of the European Microfinance Award 2020 (press release, 19 Nov)

e-MFP Members' Spotlight on Encouraging Effective & Inclusive Savings (publication, October 2020)

Buusaa Gonofaa Microfinance, Muktinath Bikas Bank and RENACA-Bénin announced as Finalists for European Microfinance Award 2020 on Encouraging Effective & Inclusive Savings (press release, 6 October).

Saving(s) microfinance in a pandemic – and Beyond (MicroCapital, 4 October 2020)

From a record field of 70 applicants, 19 proceed to European Microfinance Award 2020 Selection Committee (news item 22 July 2020)

Round 1 of EMA 2020 on Savings Receives Record 70 Application from 37 Countries (news item, 6 May 2020)

Interview with Christoph Pausch published in MicroCapital presenting in a nutshell all the relevant information ( 4 March 2020)

"A Spotlight on Effective and Inclusive Savings" (e-MFP blog,16 March 2020)

Reference documents: Application Guidelines (EN, FR, SP), Concept Note (EN, FR, SP)

See the European Microfinance Award website

About the European Microfinance Award

The European Microfinance Award is a prestigious annual award with €100,000 for the winner and €10,000 for the runners-up, which attracts applications from organisations active in financial services around the world that are innovating in a particular area of financial inclusion. It serves two parallel goals: rewarding excellence, and collecting and disseminating the most relevant practices for replication by others.

The Award was launched in 2005 by the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs – Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs. It is jointly organised by the Ministry, the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), and the Inclusive Finance Network Luxembourg (, in cooperation with the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The Award is presented in a ceremony which in the past has been in the presence of Her Royal Highness the Grand-Duchess of Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs. The ceremony takes place during the European Microfinance Week in Luxembourg.