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Press release: 10–15% growth for global micro and SME finance markets with significant regional differences

Zurich, 22 November 2016 — Global micro and SME finance markets are expected to grow by 10-15% next year according to the newly published responsAbility ‘Micro and SME Finance Market Outlook 2017’. The Asia Pacific region remains the principal driver of this trend. In addition to traditional microfinance, SME financing in developing countries is booming. 

With a successful track record spanning more than a decade, microfinance has established itself as an alternative investment theme and forecasts regarding the future development of the investment universe attract a high level of interest. responsAbility Investments AG has USD 1.9 billion of assets under management in this area and a network of 314 financial institutions in 76 countries, making it the world’s largest private investor in microfinance.

responsAbility’s ‘Micro and SME Finance Market Outlook’, which has been published each year since 2010, is one of the most-read publications about this investment theme. It explores global developments in the microfinance industry and produces forecasts for the next 12-14 months. The publication contains the views of experts from all major markets and combines their assessments with key macroeconomic indicators and the comprehensive data collected through responsAbility’s business activities. For the 2017 edition of the publication, the universe covered in the analysis was expanded to include SME banks for the first time.

Commenting on the further development of the microfinance market, Rochus Mommartz, CEO of responsAbility, stated: “For the first time since the study was launched, we have not only looked at the pure microfinance landscape but have also analyzed financing for SMEs in our investment countries. This broader focus is based on a trend in our investment markets: microfinance providers are expanding their offering to target new client segments thanks to the growth and professionalization of their services and they are increasingly serving SMEs. This maturing of the institutions is a reflection of the successful development of local financial markets – the core objective of development investments and clear evidence of their success. 

Key findings of the Market Outlook 2017:

  • In 2017, global micro and SME finance markets will grow by an average of 10-15%.
  • 25-30%: The highest growth rate is expected in Asia Pacific, driven by developments in India and strong growth in the region.
  • 10-15%: In North Africa and the Middle East, the micro and SME segments continue to be underserved – resulting in significant growth in demand.
  • 10%: In Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, experts hope that a gradual recovery of the Russian economy will pave the way for a return to growth.
  • 5-10%: In Sub-Saharan Africa, certain markets are experiencing strong catch-up growth, while in other markets, this type of growth is being restricted by the difficult economic environment.
  • 5-10%: With its very mature micro and SME finance markets, Latin America expects solid growth, due in part to the positive economic environment in the US.
  • 90% of the micro and SME finance experts surveyed anticipate that the proportion of SME financing in their markets will grow over the next five years; 30% expect it to increase by more than 20%.
  • 65% of the experts surveyed expect to see a consolidation of financial institutions in their markets.
  • 43% indicated that they expect regulation to improve in 2017.
  • 50% of all those surveyed believe that the interest rates charged on loans in their markets will decrease in 2017.

 The Micro and SME Finance Market Outlook 2017 is available in English and German at:




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