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Amidst longstanding debates on the pros and cons of microfinance as a tool for poverty reduction and empowerment, the pandemic has had a profound effect on MF institutions in developing countries. This panel evaluates the socio-economic impact that the pandemic has had on MFIs and beneficiaries.
The outbreak of the pandemic, however, resulted in a significant effect on microfinance institutions and their beneficiaries all across the world. Research has shown that more than two-thirds of the borrowers have had their livelihoods to be either completely shut down or severely impacted in one form or other by the pandemic.
Given the significant impact that COVID19 is producing, this panel invites empirical contributions that focus on aspects such as:
- How are beneficiaries impacted across various social and economic dimensions? We will be looking forward to contributions that capture short and long-term impact across both rural and urban areas.
- How do microfinance institutions respond to the pandemic? What sort of safety mechanisms do they put in place for their clients, if any? Were these sufficient and sustained? We welcome perspectives from practitioners and academics.
- A number of state-led initiatives across the world offer safety nets through cash and non-cash transfer programmes. We welcome contributions that carry out empirical assessments of how, and to what extent such interventions aid borrowers in sustaining their microenterprises.
- To what extent has the pandemic introduced new forms of governance and new political regimes in the management of microfinance?
We welcome contributions that look critically at the role of the various MFIs across the globe.