Research & Analysis

Microfinance in Myanmar: Sector Assessment

Demand for microfinance in Myanmar exceeds supply four times, holding back development as the country emerges from decades of isolation and highlighting the need to build up sustainable and credible microfinance institutions in the country. The report finds that Myanmar’s banking sector so far has found it commercially challenging to extend financial access to the poor. As a result, fewer than 20 people out of 100 have access to formal financial services, with most people relying on family savings or costly alternatives such as informal money lenders. At the same time, the market among Myanmar’s total population of around 60 million is large enough to attract domestic and international banks that could significantly improve outreach and contribute to innovation in the sector.

This joint IFC/CGAP report is the first comprehensive publicly available assessment of the microfinance landscape in Myanmar since the enactment of country’s microfinance law in late 2011. The information in this report is based on data gathered during a joint IFC–CGAP mission to Myanmar in June 2012 and subsequent research compiled post-mission. This report presents a preliminary analysis and a broad snapshot of the microfinance sector and related macroeconomic and financial sector developments. This report and the information herein should not be considered definitive, particularly given the limited publicly available information in Myanmar and the nascent stages of Myanmar’s financial and microfinance sectors.