At year-end 2020, Triodos Investment Management’s specialised emerging markets funds financed 109 institutions (2019: 109) providing inclusive finance in 47 countries. These values-based institutions vary from very small NGOs working in underdeveloped markets, to fully-fledged banks that offer a wide range of products and enable access to fair and transparent financial services for people and small businesses.
Together, these institutions reached approximately 20.2 million individuals saving for their future in 2020 (2019: 19.2 million). COVID-19 and the accompanying economic downturn led to withdrawals of savings for some companies. However, there was an overall increase in the number of savers, mainly attributable to a limited number of institutions with a large saving base that were able to grow despite the challenging circumstances.
Some 18.2 million borrowers were reached who used the funds to start or expand their business, generate income and better manage their daily lives (2019: 19.1 million). The decline in the number of borrowers compared to last year can be explained by increased focus of institutions on managing existing loans through the crisis, and less focus on providing new loans. Of these loan clients, 76% are female. Women are often in a disadvantaged position in many developing countries and emerging economies. Giving women the freedom to manage their income and to support their families empowers their position.