Press Release: Global Microfinance Index Announces Early Insights, Top Impact Award Winners and 3 New Tools to Access the Data
Microfinance is improving the quality of life, increasing the resilience of low-income customers to withstand economic shocks, and reaching people without prior access to financial services without creating over-indebtedness. By providing small loans, savings accounts, and other financial services tailored to the needs of marginalized communities, FSPs empower individuals to improve their livelihoods and break the cycle of poverty.
The 60 Decibels Microfinance (MFI) Index is a groundbreaking financial inclusion initiative that exists to measure and benchmark the impact of the microfinance industry – providing high-quality, comparable social performance data for Africa, Asia and Latin America. The Index has expanded to collect more than 1 million unique data points in 2023, speaking to over 32,000 microfinance clients across 32 countries to provide a ground-up perspective on the lives of 25 million microfinance clients.
This year the Index includes data from more than 115 participating FSPs and is supported by 32 Partners, including Abler Nordic, Accion, Advans Group, ASN Impact Investors, Baobab Group, BRAC, Ceniarth Group, Developing World Markets, Enabling Qapital, FinnFund, FMO, Global Partnerships, Gojo, Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation, HOPE International, International Solidarity for Development and Investment (SIDI), Invest In Visions, Kiva, MCE Social Capital, Mercy Corps, Opportunity International, Pro Mujer, Proparco, Social Performance Task Force (SPTF), Triodos Investment Management, Symbiotics, Temasek Trust, Tipping Point Fund on Impact Investing, TripleJump, Vision Fund International, and WaterEquity.
More on the early findings
Early insights from the aggregate dataset include that microfinance clients continue to report higher confidence to deal with a future shock, compared with the population as a whole.
The Global Findex in 2021 found that 32% of adults in developing countries say it would be ‘very difficult’ to fund an emergency expense in the next month. Conversely, of the microfinance clients surveyed in the 2023 MFI Index, only 8% said it would be ‘very difficult’ to come up with such an emergency expense (down from 10% from the 2022 MFI Index).
While not a perfect comparison, it suggests that the clients surveyed for the MFI Index are more resilient than the average across developing countries.
Women were found to be considerably more likely than men to find it ‘difficult’ to fund an emergency experience – 33% of the women would find it difficult versus 23% of the men.
New to the Index this year is the addition of an ‘Agency’ dimension, which measures the impact FSPs have on clients’ confidence, ability to make decisions about their money, and their ability to achieve their financial goals.
Women reported slightly stronger outcomes in confidence and decision making compared to men; 83% of the women stated that their confidence had increased, because of the FSP (compared to 79% of the men), while 67% of the women said that their ability to make financial decisions without consulting their spouse or another adult had increased, because of the FSP (compared to 61% of the men).
Clients who use their loan only for business or productive purposes report better outcomes in financial resilience and in their households; 83% of clients use their loan for at least some business purpose.
Clients who use their loan for productive purposes also report greater increases in the amount they spend on their child’s education, healthcare, meals, and home improvements.
Accessing the data behind the MFI Index
Ahead of the public-facing report launching in October, the data from this year’s Index can also be accessed via 3 new data tools built by 60 Decibels: a regionally disaggregated dashboard demonstrating results across all indicators in the Index; geographic snapshots for countries such as Cambodia, Ecuador, India, Indonesia and Uganda; or fully customisable insights discovery. More info on the 3 MFI Index data tools can be found at https://60decibels.com/insights/mfi-data/.
Top Impact Award winners
Nine Top Impact Award winners have also been announced as part of this year’s Index – awarded to FSPs who ranked in the top 3 for their region across all 6 dimensions of impact in the Index (Access, Business Impact, Household Impact, Client Protection, Resilience, and — new to 2023 — Agency).
Out of the 115 financial service providers in 32 different countries, the winners demonstrated exceptional performance in delivering financial services and positively impacting their clients’ lives. Full details of the winners and award criteria can be found at https://60decibels.com/mfi-awards/.
All details about the initial findings can be explored via 60decibels.com/mfi-index, where you can sign up to receive the public report when it launches or learn more about accessing the data behind the Index.