Dr. Kashif Z. Malik, Assistant Professor in Department of Economics at Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani School of Humanities and Social Sciences (MGSHSS) at LUMS, has recently published an article titled COVID-19 and Future of Microfinance: Evidence and Insights from Pakistan in Oxford Review of Economics Policy.
The research focuses on Pakistan’s microfinance sector which serves more than 7.3 million of the country’s economically active and low-income households that live close to the poverty line and use microfinance to manage cash flow and to protect themselves against risks. The COVID-19 pandemic threatens livelihoods of microenterprises, and, with that, has created immediate challenges for institutions that serve affected communities. A recent research published by Dr. Kashif Z Malik along with academics from University of Oxford, New York University and Lahore School of Economics in Oxford Review of Economics Policy, reported results from rapid response phone surveys of about 1,000 microenterprise owners, a survey of about 200 microfinance loan officers, and interviews with regulators and senior representatives of microfinance institutions. The research finds that, on average, week-on-week sales and household income both fell by about 90%. Households’ primary immediate concern in early April became how to secure food. As a result, 70% of the sample of current microfinance borrowers reported that they could not repay their loans; loan officers anticipated a repayment rate of just 34% in April 2020.The study builds from the results to argue that COVID-19 represents a crisis for microfinance in low-income communities. It is also a chance to consider the future of microfinance, and we suggest insights for policy reform.”
Here is the link of the full length article: https://academic.oup.com/oxrep/advance-article/doi/10.1093/oxrep/graa014/5828438