Investing in Financial Inclusion in Myanmar

Advans is a microfinance institution driven by a strong mission with focus on rural financing in Myanmar.

Background

Myanmar has a population of around 54 million whereof 70% live in rural areas. Only 26% of adults have an account at a formal financial institution (Global FINDEX Report 2017). Banks seldom lend to MSMEs and the microfinance industry is developing rapidly. The main source of financing is still through informal lenders.

Myanmar is one of Norfund’s priority countries. Norfund has been actively developing investment opportunities in Myanmar since microfinance was legalized in 2011. The Microfinance Law of 2011 boosted the expansion of microfinance services in the country, with several new local and foreign players investing in the Myanmar microfinance sector in recent years. The demand for microfinance is still large and a strong economic growth is expected in the coming years. An experienced actor such as  Advans MFI Myanmar helps to positively influence the direction and development of the microfinance industry. 

70
%

live in rural areas

26
%

have access to formal credit

80
%

have a smart phone

Ownership

In October 2012, Norfund and Advans – a Luxembourg domiciled investment company specializing in creating and developing microfinance institutions (MFIs) in developing countries – agreed to collaboratively develop a greenfield microfinance institution in Myanmar, Advans MFI Myanmar. Today, Advans is the majority shareholder, holding 50% of the share capital, with Norfund holding 40% and Amret – a Cambodian MFI – holding 10%.

It took longer than anticipated for Advans Myanmar to get the MFI license, but when they obtained it in April 2017, they moved fast and actually outperformed the project forecasts. Advans MFI Myanmar contributes today to increased access to finance for unbanked people and MSMEs in the country. 

81
%

female borrowers

40,000

clients

55
%

rural clients

Our Impact

As Advans MFI Myanmar operates in rural and peri-urban areas far from Yangon, attracting human resources is a big challenge. Advans’ strategy to meet this challenge is to systematically train and develop their employees themselves. It thereby also contributes to developing the local financial markets and financial competence in the country.

Tomorrow, we will provide financial solutions and advice to our clients, wherever and whenever

U Wai Yan Htet, Branch manager in Advans

In 2018, Norfund closed a follow-on equity investment to Advans Myanmar. This equity investment is catalytical as we expect it to help Advans Myanmar attract additional needed funding for growing its loan book.