March 2020
From the editor

Dear RFILC members,

This month has been undoubtedly challenging for many of us, if not all. As a way to support you during this difficult time, the RFILC Editorial Team is collecting information to keep you up to date with the latest news and reflections regarding the impact of COVID-19 on many areas of life that concern all of us.

Due to social distancing, mobility is restricted and community gatherings are restrained. These restrictions pose significant economic risks for savings groups as markets falter. The SEEP Network has published “Savings Groups and COVID-19” to help organizations consider how best to support savings groups and their members during this crisis. This guidance draws on experiences working with savings groups during times of emergencies including conflict, natural disasters and epidemics, such as Ebola.

None of us knows how long this period of uncertainty will last or what will be the best practice in reducing the significance of the negative impact.  You can read about post-disaster revealing lessons on how to build institutional resilience and recovery after the Ebola Crisis here “Financial Inclusion and Resilience: How BRAC’s Microfinance Program Recovered from the West Africa Ebola Crisis“.

The Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation launched a survey among its partners to gather first impressions of the impact on their clients’ activity, institutions and potential needs. The information was collected and analyzed in the document “How Coronavirus affects Microfinance sector.” Meanwhile, ADA prepared attention points business continuity for MFIs in view of the COVID-19 outbreak, this guide presents good practices on how the microfinance sector can cope with the risks posed by a pandemic.

Accion also developed a toolkit “Responding to the pandemic: Guidance for financial service providers“, to share their findings on how COVID-19 is affecting the financial inclusion industry, and to provide recommendations and guidance for financial service providers to protect their customers, employees, and business operations.  Similarly, a study published by SSRN “Digital Finance & the COVID-19 Crisis” examines how the digital financial infrastructure can be leveraged to overcome the immediate challenges presented by the pandemic and manage the impending economic fallout.

In addition, Making Finance Work for Africa (MFW4A) and our partners will launch a webinar to discuss the impact of the current health crisis on the African financial sector, on 15 April 2020.

We would like to also draw your attention to some efforts made by CABFIN partners in closely monitoring the situation, providing suggestions and advocacies, to reduce the negative impact of COVID-19 in the communities we serve. IFAD shared its concern about the impact of COVID-19 on the rural poor they serve and their commitment on making sure rural communities won’t be left behind in the response to COVID-19.  FAO provides recommendations on how to keep the supply chain alive in a policy brief on COVID-19 and the risk to food supply chains: How to respond?, while UNCDF presents a Guidance Note for immediate responses to the COVID19 recommended for local governments. WFP is working jointly with FAO and UNICEF in providing preliminary guidance on mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on food and nutrition of schoolchildren. The World Bank is working with WHO to develop demand modelling from a country-based perspective, to bring together the overview of the market’s capability to distribute the necessary supplies. GIZ has shared an innovative digital solution to help cope with the coronavirus pandemic, click here if you are interested to know more.

Lastly, we want to share with you some additional articles and practical information such as the policy tracking summaries related to the COVID-19 from IMF and Yale school of Management. We hope that they could provide you with comprehensive information on the current situation.

Please keep well and safe, and take care of yourselves, your families and friends.

With best regards,

The RFILC Editorial Team

We hope you enjoy your visit to the RFILC.

The Rural Finance and Investment Learning Centre is a part of the CABFIN Partnership Project which aims to promote and facilitate capacity building in rural finance. The concerns of rural finance are to ensure that people living in rural areas have access to financial services such as deposit and money transfer facilities, insurance and loan products. Effective use of these services can help to improve livelihoods and reduce rural poverty. The following CABFIN Partners have provided financial support to the RFILC: