Myanmar, which has a population of 51.4 million, is one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia. An estimated 76 percent of Myanmar’s poor live in rural areas and depend primarily on agriculture, which is considered a mainstay of the country’s economy. More than half of the country’s adults work in agriculture, which accounts for an estimated 37 percent of GDP. Yet unstable inflation, overregulation, and limited access to finance have impeded economic growth. The country’s financial system is also still developing and only 30 percent of its adult population has access to financial services provided either by commercial banks or microfinance institutions. Rural areas, where nearly 70 of the population lives and where poverty is twice as high as urban areas, are particularly underserved by financial institutions.
In effort to promote access to finance, IFC collaborated with Acleda Bank Public Limited Company, a long standing IFC partner, and its subsidiaries in Cambodia and Myanmar to design a program that provided financing solutions to smallholder farmers, agricultural firms, and small and medium enterprises in the agricultural sector. The project improved lending and provided financial services for agricultural enterprises to increase employment, enhance export earnings and maintain food security.
Making credit and related financial services available to Myanmar’s farming population is of critical importance, since it helps improve the livelihoods of the population, especially the rural poor.
A GAFSP-supported local currency loan helped increase Acleda’s agricultural loan portfolio to more than US $9 million in 2016, with more than 20,000 loans disbursed that year. It also helped Acleda Myanmar access additional long-term funding from donors and other commercial lenders.
- Access to Finance
Mr. Niraj H. Shah
Principal Investment Officer
Program Manager, GAFSP Private Sector Window
Tel: 202 473 3743