In September 2017, the World Forum Convergences, published the Microfinance Barometer 2017, which showcased global trends in the sector.
Some of the key figures highlighted by the Barometer are:
- There were 123 million customers at microfinance institutions worldwide in 2016, for a loan portfolio of $102 billion.
- India was the leader in terms of microfinance in 2016, with 47 million borrowers and roughly $15 billion in outstanding loans. Vietnam was second, followed by Bangladesh, Peru and Mexico.
- The ranking shows strong momentum in southern Asia. The region accounts for roughly 60% of all borrowers and has the highest growth in terms of loans, up 23.5% in 2016. Latin America and the Caribbean are also highly active in microfinance, with $42.5 billion in outstanding loans, compared with $9.3 billion in Europe and $8.7 billion in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Most borrowers are women living in rural areas. They made up 84% of borrowers in 2016, with people in rural areas representing roughly 60% of the market.
- The Barometer takes a close look at a continent where microfinance is dominated by professional microlending, and which has seen steady 12% growth from 494,781 microloans granted in 2014 to 552,834 in 2016.
- The situation resembles a crossroads, with a mature microfinance sector on the one hand, and impact-investing opportunities that still need to be defined on the other.
- A group of 200 investors sharing their data with the Global Impact Investing Network said they invested roughly 60% of their assets in microfinance and other financial services in 2016. That’s far ahead of the impact-investing sectors, such as agriculture, energy and health, all of which were below 10%.
- The boundary between impact investing and microfinance is getting thinner. And this phenomenon is giving rise to new opportunities in both fields.