Based on an analysis of 1,500 institutions from 85 developing countries, Asia is considered the most developed continent in the world in terms of volume of activities by microfinance institutions. A study by Lapeneu and Zeller found that Asia accounted for the majority of Microfinance Institutions globally, retained the highest volume of savings and credit, and served more members than any other continent.  East Asia is particularly well served by MFIs. In terms of GNP, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand and Viet Nam had the highest loan volume. In contrast, India and the People’s Republic of China,  have very low outreach. Countries such as Afghanistan, Myanmar and Pakistan also have low outreach due to a variety of factors.

Microfinance Overview

Banking with the Poor Network

Overview of Microfinance in Asia/Pacific (WSBI)

New Report from MIX on microfinance in Asia

Regulatory Architecture for Microfinance in Asia

Microfinance in Asia

Prospects for Investment in South Asian Microfinance (South Asian Microfinance Network, 2010)

South Asia Perspective:  Fast-tracking Microfinance Regulation

Afghanistan

Microfinance in Afghanistan: Country Profile.  Lists 16 microfinance institutions in Afghanistan, microloans totalling  USD 110.3 million (2009), and includes articles on Islamic microfinance.

Microfinance Investment Support Facility For Afghanistan (MISFA).  Primarily donor and government supported sector.  As of 2011, microloans totaled USD 113 million, with 74% of borrowers women, and and 80.5% repayment rate.

Microfinance in Afghanistan.  Overview of microfinance in Afghanistan and discussed the first microfinance bank established in Afghanistan in 2003.

Microfinance in Afghanistan Facing Stiff Challenges.  Three challenges are noted:  security, banking system, and insufficient local microfinance institutions.

Building a Vibrant Microfinance Sector in Afghanistan.  Describes the World Bank’s microfinance programs in Afghnistan.

Bangladesh

Microfinance in Bangladesh: Country Profile.  Lists 73 microfinance institutions with USD 2.3 billion in loans (2009).

Microfinance Laws and Regulations. Regulated by the Microcredit Regulatory Authority if a microfinance institution receiving foreign funds. Banks (excluding Grameen Bank) are regulated by the Bangladesh Bank.

Microfinance Sector of Bangladesh.  An overview of the sector.

China

China: Microfinance and Financial Sector Diagnostic Report

Microfinance in China, Republic of:  Country Profile.  Lists 19 microfinance institutions in China, with USD 18.6 billion outstanding (2009).

Microfinance on way to China’s poor.  Groupe Danone (food giant) announced $20 million donation to support Danone Microfinance Foundation in China.

The Regulatory Environment for Microfinance in China.  Includes the framework and history of microfinance in China.

The Policy and Legal Framework for Microfinance in China. Chinese microfinance started as public-interest projects. Mutual funds have been developing rapidly in recent years while commercial microfinance projects have started to become undertaken by commercial banks, which have legal banking licenses.

India

Microfinance: Under Scrutiny But Resilient, a 2011 report released by Sa-Dhan, a network of microfinance institutions in India.

India: Microfinance and Financial Sector Diagnostic Report

Microfinance in India: Country Profile. Lists 140 microfinance institutions,with loans of USD 4.4 billion (2009).

Microfinance India State of the Sector Report 2010. Discusses trends and policies in India and addresses microfinance in the macro context.

Learning from experience: The key to drafting a good microfinance bill for India.  This is an analysis of the government’s formulation of new microfinance regulations in India, in the wake of a recent microfinance crisis in the country.

Reviewing the Reserve Bank of India’s Microfinance Framework.  New regulations for microfinance providers in India were issued in May 2011, which include a margin cap of 12% and an interest rate cap of 26% for ‘priority’ loans.

Microfinance India. A national platform which mission is to engender intellectual debate to aid in the evolution of the microfinance sector.

India’s Poor Reel Under Microfinance Debt Burden.  The high cost of microcreditis due to amount of time and labor intensive nature of the microfinance.

Current State of Microfinance in India. Kiva stories from the field (2011).

Transformation of the Microfinance Sector in India. Microfinance in India started in the 1980’s with self-help groups and has grown significantly since then.

Microfinance in India: A State of the Sector Report, 2007. The sector continues to grow, but it has to pay more attention to depth of outreach and other quality issues.

Indonesia

Microfinance in Indonesia:  Country Profile. Lists 58 microfinance institutions, and USD 174.1 million in loans (2009).

Microfinance Innovation Center for Resources and Alternatives.  Carries numerous articles on microfinance topics in Indonesia, ranging from Youth and Access to Microfinance to data and evaluations.

Islamic Microfinance in Indonesia. Examines emerging Islamic microfinance sector in Indonesia, particularly rural banks and financial cooperatives, assessing how they have evolved, how they compare with conventional institutions, and their prospects for growth.

Myanmar

Microfinance in Myanmar (Burma): Country Profile (2011).  Loans:  US$ 54.8 million, borrowers: 337,368.

Microfinance in Myanmar: Sector Assessment. A 2013 CGAP paper notes that demand for microfinance in Myanmar exceeds supply four times.

Myanmar Microfinance Network.  Information on laws, regulations, training.

Thailand

The Bank of Thailand Introduces Guidelines to Promote Microfinance. But Interest Rate Ceiling Reportedly Discourages Commercial Banks.

Community-Based Microfinance.  Discusses several case studies of microfinance and community-based schemes.

Microfinance Development in Thailand. Discusses characteristics, key players, and challenges.

Vietnam

Microfinance in Viet Nam – Policy Assessment.  This 2008 report notes that Vietnam had lowered its poverty headcount from 58% of the population in 1993 to 24% in 2007.  The economically active population of around 64 million people represents a growing demand for microfinance services.

Current State of Microfinance in Vietnam.  Of the 52 microfinance institutions in Viet Nam, as of 2011, only one is officially licensed by the government.

The nature of NGO microfinance in Vietnam and stakeholders’ perceptions of effectiveness. The survey examines the rapid growth of microfinance in Vietnam in a systematic analysis of its effectiveness in Vietnam.

Vietnam Country Profile.  Study by the Asia Resource Centre for Microfinance examines the needs, regulations and government initiatives, credit and savings models, and microfinance providers in Vietnam.

Microfinance in Vietnam aids rural economic divide.  A BBC video interview of farmers in a microcredit program.

Microfinance Industry Report – Vietnam (2008).   This report describes the financial and business environment and the regulatory and policy initiatives of the government of Vietnam.