COVID-19 NEWS & INSIGHTS
Governments, industry and communities are endeavouring to combat the spread and impact of COVID-19 with daily announcements on policies and regulations, and stimulus and other budgetary packages to stem the devastating impact on human life and lessen COVID-19’s economic consequences. However, microfinance providers directly supporting the poor, those in the informal economy and microfinance clients generally, are not always recognised in these measures, notwithstanding the fact that people at the base of the economy and community represent a substantial proportion of the population in most countries and are highly vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19.
In response, the Foundation for Development Cooperation (FDC) is working with its Banking with the Poor network (BWTP) of 1,500 microfinance institutions serving 130m clients, to progress various COVID-19 mitigation and recovery initiatives.
Our feedback from the frontline indicates lockdowns and the COVID-19 impact on clients and their microenterprises, and microfinance providers differs from country to country, largely influenced by the level of lockdown or quarantine declaration measures in place. Liquidity is a common and major concern across the region – of both clients and microfinance institutions. Moratoria and other short-term lending concessions are not always consistent across the broader finance industry, often squeezing microfinance providers who relax conditions with their clients, but without commensurate concessions from their upstream creditors and funders. Further, notwithstanding the extensive, established network into remote communities and basic assistance provided to millions of vulnerable people by microfinance institutions, they are yet to receive widespread recognition as essential service providers.
FDC and BWTP will provide ongoing microfinance industry updates in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, the above links relate to recent COVID-19 news impacting microfinance from around Asia and the Pacific. This is complemented with a range of COVID-19 analyses, guidance notes, policy documents and lessons and case studies included in the Guidance & Insights area.