the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation, whose head office is in Luxembourg, collected observations from 56 microfinance institutions (MFIs) regarding the effects of COVID-19. Markets are closed, putting traders out of work; and group borrowers’ meetings are canceled. While these are replaced in some instances with door-to-door trans­actions, other MFIs are reducing in-person transactions to minimize virus transmission. Remittance inflows are down. Tourism enterprises are being asked to return deposits for canceled trips. A respondent in Burkina Faso noted the inability of clients to cross borders to purchase goods for resale. An MFI in Myanmar reported lower crop prices due to the border closure with China, as well as volatility in exchange rates. On the other hand, an MFI in Kyrgyzstan foresees an increase in agricultural prices, benefitting farmers.

Meanwhile, an MFI in Uganda predicts, “we will need liquidity [due to] high provisioning for impaired assets due to increased non-repayment.” The Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation argues that reducing funding to MFIs at this time “would only intensify the difficulties and impacts of the crisis.”


The Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation was established in 2008 by Credit Agricole, a French retail bank, in partnership with Muhammad Yunus, the founder of the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. The foundation provides funding and technical assistance to microfinance institutions and other social businesses with the aim of creating a “better-shared economy.” As of December 2019, GCA Foundation had commitments of EUR 96 million (USD 107 million) outstanding to 82 partners in 39 countries in Africa and Eurasia. These partners serve 5 million customers, of whom 75 percent are women and 74 percent live in rural areas.

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