The Covid-19 Financial Inclusion Compass is a special edition of the Compass series specifically focused on the current challenges, medium-term priorities, concerns, opportunities and forecasts for a sector facing probably the greatest crisis in its modern history. It reveals a sector that is highly anxious about the consequences of the pandemic and especially the economic downturn – on liquidity-starved providers, on investors, but most of all on clients.
How is the financial inclusion sector responding to the Covid-19 pandemic? The immense challenges right now – to clients, institutions, investors, support providers, and policy-makers – are clear. But the question we’d like to ask is: are we managing? Just how much trouble are we in?
European Microfinance Week 2019, #emw2019, gathered 450 leading experts from 62 countries to showcase the most exciting innovations advancing sustainable and responsible financial inclusion around the world. We are proud to present this extensive report which features all the sessions and brings together the important discussions, findings and presentations of the conference.
While client protection is a foundation of responsible finance, implementing it requires wrestling with a fundamental question: when does protection become a paternalistic limitation on client choice? Among responsible finance adherents, there is universal agreement that clients should be provided with clear, simple information in order to make financial decisions. But often this is seen as insufficient, and institutions and regulations go further, limiting or prohibiting certain practices because they are deemed irresponsible -- thus also limiting client choices. The EMW 2019 Closing Plenary used a free debate format to explore the challenge of balancing between these two objectives -- client choice and client protection.
It's now a tradition that the European Microfinance Week opens with a plenary session featuring the finalists of the European Microfinance Award, the €100,000 prize awarded by the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. In 2019 on the topic of "Strengthening resilience to climate change", the Award aims to highlight the critical role the financial inclusion sector plays at strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities to the effects of climate change.
Climate change is a major threat to financial stability and poverty alleviation. Financial regulators and policy makers are recognizing the urgent need to develop financial markets that are able to cope with climate-related risks and that, at the same time, support financial policies that help strengthen the resilience of the population. This resilience is especially crucial for the low-income and financially excluded populations that the financial inclusion sector serves: their livelihoods depend on activities most affected by climate change (such as agriculture, forestry and fisheries), and their countries are usually among the most exposed to climate change hazards and the less ready to face them. This session discussed how to best manage systemic climate-related risks as well as the policies that the financial inclusion sector should develop and support to strengthen the resilience of the sector itself and its clients.
The less money you have, the more time you spend managing it! The panel aimed at exploring and highlighting the specific in Financial inclusion for refugees and Internal Displaced Populations (IDP's): Who are they ? What are their income sources ? What are their spending's? What are their financial needs? How to serve them? How regulation helps to financially include the most vulnerable? How to speed up and scale up?
The session aimed at sensitising participants about the risks related to financial services provision and child labor and unsafe labor practices and invited participants to contribute to an emerging tool that aims at integrating mitigation measures in women’s economic empowerment (WEE) programmes.
The session aimed to introduce the concept of ethical banking (EB) and discussed how it is similar and different to microfinance and how EB operates. Since 1930 the banking business, which originally had a social involvement, has been progressively losing this original social features. This has made necessary the birth, through a bottom-up process of a new generation of social banks, the so-called "ethical banks". But which are the criteria that a bank that wants to be defined ethical should meet, how does EB select and evaluate the ethics of their investment? Where does microfinance stand in comparison of recent EB's development? How does EB assess the environmental and social impact of their investees? These are among the topics that will be discussed during the panel. Throughout the session, we learned about which are the financial instruments available for the promotion of the ethical banking sector and which challenges EB have still to face in order to move the sector forward.
Technology is reshaping the financial inclusion market opening up opportunities for reaching scale and efficiency. But how can technology be a way to reduce gender inequality in the financial systems and better serve the specific needs of women? How can financial institutions, investors and the microfinance sector as a whole, leverage technological solutions to promote gender equality? Microfinance has always had a focus on women and has proven effective in addressing several forms of inequality, such as income, health, education, etc. Nonetheless, the gender gap in access to financial services and to the internet is still a challenge, especially in emerging markets. This panel explored the barriers faced by women and the solutions to address them form the direct experience of investors, financial service providers and consulting companies.
The digitization of banking and payments offers great promise for advancing financial inclusion. But cyber threats have become a growing concern in emerging financial markets across the world and are affecting both consumers' trust and confidence in financial service providers (FSPs) and FSPs' financial assets. Governments in emerging markets are also becoming aware of the need to develop regulatory frameworks, industry guidance and supervisory processes. However, cyber security management and monitoring require new expertise and resources for both FSPs and governments that are often scarce in developing countries due to the lack of capacity and affordable support services.
Focusing on the needs of customers remains a challenge in Africa, according to 2019 report to be published by WSBI's Scale2Save Programme, a partnership between WSBI and Mastercard Foundation. The report finds that member banks offer a variety of accounts as part of their drive to attract and satisfy customers. But it also found their product and service mix still falls short of customer needs. The panel presented the key insights from the "Savings and Retail Banking in Africa" report and discussed the major challenges to encourage savings for low-income customers following the 4 pillars of the financial inclusion: usability, affordability accessibility and sustainability. Different perspectives from both the demand and supply side from the panelists were discussed.
This session, entitled "Looking back; looking ahead" focused on how financial inclusion changes over time - the trends and shifts in attitude that have taken place over the last decade, and what stakeholders think is yet to come. The session brought together representatives of Convergences and e-MFP, to present a decade of the Microfinance Barometer and the findings of the just-launched Financial Inclusion Compass 2019, respectively. The first presentation, from Convergences (which publishes the annual Microfinance Barometer) looked back at how over ten editions of the Barometer, attitudes and priorities have shifted among readers and contributors. The second presentation looked ahead, to present the second Compass, a mixed-methodology survey of various sector stakeholders' predictions, concerns and focus areas. A panel discussion of these trends included a response by an eminent sector leader with a multi-decade career.
This session illustrated an innovative approach proposed by YAPU Solutions and NpM to agriculture finance for smallholders that includes climate change resiliency as key dimension in risks and process management, products design and adaptation. Technology, tailored services and (geo)data will play the role of key ingredients. As example of actual implementation of such approaches the panel presented the multiplier role played by Ecuadorian network RFD in supporting the IDB EcoMicro project "Agricultural Finance and Smart Data for Climate Change Adaptation"; the second phase of "Microfinance for Eco-system based Adaptation", implemented in 9 countries in the LAC and SSA regions. NpM's programme "Geodata for Inclusive Finance and Food (G4IFF)", looked at the use of geo and agri-based data by FSPs to improve access to finance to smallholders. Apollo Agriculture, one of the winners of NpM's Innovators Challenge, elaborated on their solution which consists of using agronomic machine learning, remote sensing and mobile phones to deliver credit, farm inputs, and advice to farmers.
This session tackled the role of financial inclusion investors in increasing vulnerable populations' resilience. With a focus on Central and Latin America, where climate change is increasing instability in several countries but which can lead some investors to respond by reducing their exposure and limiting risk, representatives from leading sector investors discussed how their investments aim to strengthen the resilience of the end client, what the main challenges and opportunities are for investors in this field, and how they envisage the investors' role in contributing to the sector's efforts to tackle climate change.
This session examined some of the latest innovations in energy finance via a 'World Café' format, in which, after short initial presentations, the three speakers rotate every 15 minutes around the audience – a format that allows extensive audience interactivity and participation. Moderated by consultant and former Inclusive Finance Director at MFR Chiara Pescatori, this session presented three fascinating initiatives in this dynamic field: A CGAP partnership with MFI Baobab Senegal and energy PayGo company Baobab Plus; a presentation of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition's work on innovative models in financing clean cookstoves; and the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association's new consumer protection code and self-assessment tool for solar PayGo companies.
This was the first of what e-MFP hopes to be a series of EMW sessions to feature relevant research findings for practitioners. Leading financial inclusion researchers gave individual lectures, followed by Q&A with the audience. A chance to learn more about the latest developments in the academia that are relevant for your work!
This session discussed practical and innovative approaches taken by financial service providers and asset managers to measure and incentivize positive social outcomes. It was divided into three parts and explored the business case for social outcomes measurement, how you do it, and what the challenges and next steps are for these institutions. MFO Crystal described implementation of their outcomes framework, shared insights they have gained, and how they used outcomes data to inform product design and important management decisions. Incofin discussed the asset manager perspective and the important role they play through its funds and TA facilities to push the frontiers of social outcomes measurement by supporting its investees to use rigorous, data-driven methods to track their impact. Grassroots Capital shared their efforts underway to incentivize impact through performance-linked notes. CERISE described the practical assessment tool they developed, the MetODD-SDG, that is available for providers and investors to measure their contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals through a list of micro-level indicators for SDG Targets.
Financial cooperatives play an important role in increasing financial inclusion, especially with regards to the very poor. However, their set up, governance structure, and member-owned equity often poses challenges for investors. This session shared the challenges and lessons learned from supporting cooperatives on all continents.
This session was a follow up of the European Microfinance Award 2016 “Microfinance and Access to Education”. With the participation of the Kashf Foundation, EMA 2016 winner, and OBUL, EMA 2016 finalist, panellists reflected on how the financial inclusion sector’s support of access to quality of education has evolved over the past years and shared with the audience new innovative practices, tools and examples from different markets.
This session was part of EMW's country-specific annual series. In 2019, its aim was to present the conference audience with recent developments in the Bangladeshi financial inclusion sector. Representatives from key sector players presented how over the years clients' needs and behaviour have evolved and the sector has embarked on an intense digitalisation path, with the experience of BRAC, one of the oldest MFIs in the country, as an example of how MFIs have evolved and adapted to those changes. The panel also included a presentation on the current investment landscape and opportunities.
Poor communities in disaster-prone areas are hit hard by disasters. Resilience and preparedness are the first lines of defence. The session analysed two experiences. After the Haiyan typhoon in the Philippines, Vision Fund International and Global Parametrics (GP) gathered 3 years of evidence of recovery lending finding an approach (capital & credit) to support post disaster recovery lending using climate index. Both organizations launched ARDIS (African Asian and Americas Resilience in Disaster Insurance Scheme) in 2018. GP, Oxfam Novib and PLAN focus on preparedness in the B-Ready Program combining two innovations: digital weather forecasting and risk modelling technologies for early warning systems; financial technologies for pre-disaster cash transfer. Based on smart data, early warning systems local humanitarian actors can immediately and safely deliver cash prior to a disaster.
This was the first of five sessions that delved into the topic of the European Microfinance Award 2019 "Strengthening resilience to Climate Change". Its aim was to set the scene and provide a broad overview of the landscape of climate change, its impact, its challenges, and the responses of the financial inclusion sector to tackle them. This session was a must to broaden understanding on how our sector plays a key role in addressing climate change and strengthens clients' preparedness and readiness to the consequences of climate change. Sectoral experts and practitioners presented experiences of responses to resolve climate change challenges from the inclusive finance sector with some typical examples of what has worked and what has not.
The session continued the EMW 2018 dialogue on digital transformation to understand how impact investors and donors best support the microfinance sector on this. Microfinance institutions (MFIs) are facing growing pressure to digitalize operations. How can impact investors, working with the MFIs, support their partners best? And how do they ensure it results in responsible financial services? The focus of the session lay on the MIV's perspective of the digitalisation trends in their portfolio and what they do to assist in this process. Learnings and experiences were shared about how digital transformation can be accelerated with technical assistance approaches. Also the need for (donor) funding to accelerate responsible digital finance was discussed. Moreover, investors shared how digitalization impacts the management of their portfolio (risk issues; due diligence; investment strategies, etc).
Montpellier Business School, the French National Research Institute for Development (IRD) and the University Paris Dauphine, in cooperation with e-MFP and CERMI, organised the 6th European Research Conference on Microfinance from 3rd to 5th June 2019 in Paris, France with over 130 delegates and speakers attending the event.
Our Winter 2018/2019 Newsletter is now out with: some of the EMW highlights and the European Microfinance Award ceremony; Spotlight on Advans Côte d'Ivoire, winner of the 2018 Award; an article on blended finance by BlueOrchard; update on 10 years of Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation plus all the latest news and activities from e-MFP and its members complete the edition.
It's now a tradition that the European Microfinance Week opens with a plenary session featuring the finalists of the European Microfinance Award, the €100,000 prize awarded by the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.
Big Data, we've all heard the term. Across industries, teams are excited and daunted by the prospect of data transforming the way they work. In this Talk, Tom Allen discusses the impact big data will have on the microfinance sector as a gateway to financial inclusion for the poor and how data plays an integral role in the management of a microfinance network and what this means at client level.
Training on "Climate smart agriculture and climate smart lending" organized by the e-MFP Microfinance and Environment Action Group, prepared and delivered by YAPU Solutions, took place on November 29th during European Microfinance Week 2017.
Date: October 26, 2017 Presented by: Justin McAuley, VisionFund
In this session Justin McAuley details a product that VisionFund has implemented to automate the application process for loan officers in the field. Drawing on data from over 80 sources, the technology uses an algorithm to create loan terms appropriate to the financial situation of individual clients.
Training for investment officers on 'Due Dilligence for MFIs venturing into SME finance', prepared and delivered by Elza Herman, took place on October 13th 2017 in Addis Ababa, in the framework of the African Microfinance Week.
'The opportunity of clean, resilient business: training on green inclusive finance for MFIs', organised by the e-MFP Microfinance & Environment Action Group, prepared and delivered by Enclude BV, took place on October 9th 2017 in Addis Ababa, in the framework of the African Microfinance Week.
'Training on green inclusive finance for donors and investors' was held in Utrecht on 29th September, organised by the e-MFP Microfinance & Environment Action Group, prepared and delivered by Enclude BV and kindly hosted by NpM, Platform for Inclusive Finance.
Guidelines On Outcomes Management For Investors: Guidelines for integrating outcomes management, analysis and reporting into the operations of inclusive finance investors, asset managers, and other funders.
Rural Outreach & Innovation Action Group Talk Date: October 26, 2016 Presented by: Daniel Rozas
The Microfinance Index of Market Outreach and Saturation (MIMOSA) is an effort to fill an important gap in the sector by establishing a standard framework for measuring credit saturation. See also http://mimosaindex.org/
Prepared by the e-MFP Microfinance and Environment Action Group under the coordination of the Group co-heads: Marion Allet (PAMIGA), Geert Jan Schuite (ENCLUDE), Davide Forcella (CERMi), Raluca Dumitrescu (MicroEnergy International), October 2016
Check out the e-MFP Autumn 2016 Newsletter for an update on the 7th European Microfinance AwardMicrofinance and Access to Education and the 3 Finalists chosen; See also what e-MFP members are doing to support access to education; Get the latest on European Microfinance Week, 16-18 November and the Story of Inclusive Banking by Hans Dieter Seibel. All the latest news and activities from e-MFP and its members completes the edition.
See the e-MFP Summer 2016 Newsletter for the latest update on the 7th European Microfinance Award Microfinance and Access to Education; an article on Financing Access to Energy from e-MFP's Microfinance and Environment Action Group; reports on the recent CGAP annual meeting in Luxembourg, and the SPTF meeting in Morocco where the e-MFP Social Performance Outcomes Action Group met.
Check out the e-MFP Spring 2016 Newsletter for details of the 7th European Microfinance Award Microfinance and Access to Education; an update from Oikocredit on their Client Outcomes Programme; an article from Craig Chelius, Mifos Initiative on Financial Inclusion 2.0; updates on our Action Groups and our latest publications. Plus all the latest news and activities from e-MFP and its members.
We’ve had a very active 6 months - with 10 new publications, participation in several of the sector’s top events, organisation of the 6th European Microfinance Award and the preparation of the European Microfinance Week 2015.
It's a great pleasure to start this newsletter with the announcement of the 6th European Microfinance Award which this year focuses on microfinance in post-disaster, post-conflict areas and fragile states.
Thanks to the tremendous response to the call for sessions and speakers for European Microfinance Week, e-MFP has put togther an inspiring programme which promises to stimulate lively debate and exchange.
It's a pleasure to start this newsletter with the announcement of the 5th European Microfinance Award on Microfinance and the Environment. This year the objective is to highlight opportunities for microfinance to improve environmental issues and encourage the industry to find innovative solutions for global environmental concerns in developing countries.
We look forward to another busy year in 2014 for e-MFP: Following the enthusiasm and dynamism of European Microfinance Week, we will continue to support our members in transforming this energy into concrete projects and actions.
European Microfinance Week took place 2nd – 4th November in the Abbaye de Neumünster, Luxembourg.
The theme for this year’s event focussed on ‘Inclusive Finance for Excluded People – Microfinance refocusing on the underserved, unserved and vulnerable’ and gathered 373 microfinance professionals from 59 countries.
For the latest press release click on the link below.
European Microfinance Week 2010 is a unique event because the content is driven by e-MFP members. The themes and topics have been proposed by you, our members, so they reflect your current priorities and concerns about the microfinance sector.
With the European Microfinance Week 2013 only some weeks away, the e-MFP Secretariat is currently very busy preparing the event which will take place 12th – 14th November in the Abbaye de Neumünster, Luxembourg.
The first half of 2013 has been particularly busy for e-MFP; with 10 new publications, participation in several of the sector’s top events and co-organization of the fantastic 3rd European Research Conference on Microfinance in Norway.
For this Spring Newsletter, I am happy to share a few words with you as the new Chairwoman of our European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP). I am following in the footsteps of Axel de Ville and Marc Bichler who I want to thank for their commitment in promoting and leading e-MFP during the last years.
It was a pleasure to meet so many of you at European Microfinance Week and to see that what started as a rather small conference in 2005, has developed over the years into such a major microfinance event. On page 1-4 we share highlights and report from some of the 24 sessions.
European Microfinance Week, 14th -16th November, is e-MFP’s annual event for its members and friends to come together, debate, share ideas, learn, network and - most importantly - look to the future of our sector.
Preparations for European Microfinance Week 2012 are well under way and we would like to thank all members who submitted proposals for sessions during our three day annual event. The proposals are currently being assessed and the Secretariat will follow up and keep you informed regarding your contribution.
The European Microfinance Award is organized jointly by the European MicrofinancePlatform, the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Directorate for Development Cooperation and the Luxembourg Round Table on Microfinance to promote microfinance initiatives and highlight their contribution to the development of the sector.
After a very decisive year during which the microfinance sector had to wake-up to certain realities, European Microfinance Week, e-MFP’s annual event for its members and friends, is the ideal place to come together, debate, share ideas, learn, network and - most importantly - look to the future of our sector.
Five years of microfinance partnership for the South - how it all began. The idea behind the Platform was to bring together European microfinance organisations that work in developing countries to share their ideas and experiences. The founding organisations shared the vision that microfinance should take an innovative and inclusive approach and that the e-MFP would represent the focal point of microfinance in Europe.