Microfinance Barometer 2017: global trends of the sector

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:

Microfinance: a dynamic and fast-changing sector
  • 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.
Women: drivers of diversification in microfinance
  • 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.
Financial Inclusion in Europe
  • 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.
Synergies between microfinance and impact investing: at a crossroads
  • 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.
You can access the full report here