Lack of access to capital is a major barrier for micro and small entrepreneurs in Myanmar to develop their businesses. Although the demand for capital is high, the microfinance industry is underdeveloped.
In Myanmar, only 26 percent of adults have an account at a formal financial institution. Banks seldom lend to micro and small companies (MSMEs), and although microfinance companies were legalised in 2011, the number of microfinance institutions is low. Informal lenders are thereby still the main source of financing for most entrepreneurs.
of the adult population in Myanmar have a bank account at a formal institution
Lacking Formal Institutions
Lack of access to capital is also a main reason why microfinance
institutions have limited ability to give loans and expand in Myanmar. In 2013, Norfund was the first international lender to a Myanmar-based microfinance operator. The loan was invested in Proximity Design, a social enterprise that had supported rural farmers and families in Myanmar since 2004.
In 2018, Norfund made several new commitments in Myanmar’s microfinance sector.
Norfund and two international partners, succeeded in creating a new, innovative funding agreement for a microfinance institution named Myanmar Finance International Limited (MFIL).
What is unique with this agreement is that it opens up for one of Myanmar’s largest banks, Yoma Bank, to give loans to MFIL due to that Norfund and partners are providing the security the bank requires. With this agreement, MFIL will be able to double its loans portfolio and reach more than 100,000 micro entrepreneurs in Myanmar.
“We are excited by the opportunity to work with Yoma
Bank to further increase our outreach to continue to grow
our business”Mr. Po Yort, Managing Director of MFIL
A follow-on equity investment to another microfinance institution, Advans MFI Myanmar, was closed in 2018. Advans MFI Myanmar is an experienced actor with focus on rural financing. Norfund’s equity investment will enable the company to attract additional funding to grow its loan book.
live in rural areas in Myanmar
Our goal is to serve clients who have insufficient
access to formal banking services, with the ultimate
aim of contributing to private-sector led economic
and social progress in Myanmar.”Jana Kadian, CEO of Advans Myanmar
Norfund made an investment in 2018 in the Myanmar Opportunities Fund II, an investment fund targeting SMEs in Myanmar.