In the Mekong region, the role of micro-finance institutions (MFIs) vary significantly from country to country.
Somphone Sisenglath, Managing Director of Ekphatthana Microfinance Institution, described the Lao industry as “very young”, with the median MFI just three years old. Most MFIs operate in the capital, Vientiane, while 80 percent of the population is rural.
Ko Ko Maung, Division Director at Myanmar’s Ministry of Planning and Finance, explained that in Myanmar “the government bank serves all areas of the country, especially farmers. Plus we have cooperative societies expanding across the 60,000 villages of the country.”
Anya Berezhna, Regional Manager for Symbiotics, said: “In Cambodia, we see more and more credit going into the capital city.”
To balance this, Leonie Lethbridge, CEO of ANZ Royal, Cambodia, said: “we work with MFIs to extend our own footprint”.