Nov 22, 2022

e-MFP’s hybrid European Microfinance Week 2022 closes – with discussion of successes, disappointments, and future opportunities

  • A record 570 attendees from 48 countries at hybrid EMW2022, 257 of them online
  • Over 30 breakout sessions across different thematic streams, action groups, closed meetings and side events
  • Banco FIE of Bolivia wins €100,000 European Microfinance Award 2022 for its broad gender strategy, including gender focused products and services and innovative business management model ‘Marca Magenta’
  • Large amount of EMW2022 content recorded and available for attendees after the conference

 Luxembourg, 22nd November 2022 - For Immediate Release - 

European Microfinance Week (#EMW2022), concluded Friday at Luxembourg’s Abbaye de Neümunster with a plenary entitled ‘Big Questions for Today – and Tomorrow’, with CGAP’s CEO Sophie Sirtaine, Marc Labie of UMons, Yannick Milev from Chamroeun in Cambodia, and moderated by Olga Biosca of Glasgow Caledonian University. They were invited to answer three questions – on recent past sector successes, past disappointments, and greatest future opportunities. On developments of which they’re most proud, they cited the resilience and maturity of the sector in pandemic recovery, and the ‘key worker’ role of front-line staff. On disappointments, the gender gap is narrowing, but that tells only a limited story, with persistent gaps in usage and autonomy to be addressed. Corporate governance has not improved sufficiently, and nor has supervision kept pace with regulation. And on opportunities, the speakers cited great access to standardised but flexible products, more attention given to positive incentives, and increased client-centric product design, building on better understanding of what works well for whom and where.

This plenary wrapped up a conference that was hybrid for the first time and welcomed a record number of attendees – 570 in total from 48 countries, among them 257 online, and over 120 speakers – both in-person and remote – across more than 30 sessions. With so many sessions live-streamed and also recorded across the EMW2022 online platform, and various opportunities for networking both at the Abbaye and online, EMW2022 has been able to build upon lessons learned from the last two fully online conferences while returning to in-person gatherings, something that it is clear had been considerably missed.

On Thursday, there was the ceremony for the €100,000 European Microfinance Award on ‘Financial Inclusion that Works for Women’. Back at the European Investment Bank (EIB) for the first time since 2019, Banco FIE S.A. of Bolivia was announced by the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg as the winner, receiving the €100,000 prize for its broad gender strategy, including gender focused products and services and innovative business management model ‘Marca Magenta’. The ceremony included speeches from Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs Mr Franz Fayot, EIB President Werner Hoyer, HRH the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, and a keynote address from the CEO of Women’s World Banking, Mary Ellen Iskenderian.

Friday afternoon’s closing plenary was followed by closing remarks by e-MFP’s Chairwoman Laura Hemrika. Noting the immense challenges of a hybrid conference, she paid tribute to all those who had made it possible and noted the sense of gratitude and relief among the in-person attendees she’d spoken with at being able to exchange ideas and collaborations face-to-face once more. Pulling together several of the themes that had emerged across the many conference events, Laura called on all sector stakeholders to “maintain the action-driven and impact-driven focus of everyone at this conference”, saying “it is clear that we as a sector have moved from merely discussing the importance of meeting women's needs, working towards an environmental sustainability, or the need for financial education, and are now capitalising on that experience, talking about how best to achieve these objectives. “We have moved from talking about the ‘why’ to talking about the ‘how’”, she said.

On the subject of the ‘how’, Laura concluded by observing that “client-centric design has been one of the recurrent transversal themes of the sector - whether in the context of women's financial inclusion, or digital financial services, or even financial education” and that this is something which will undoubtedly be a key element of the upcoming European Microfinance Award 2023, which she announced as being on ‘Food Security and Nutrition’ - work on which will begin straight away.


The European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) is the leading network of organisations and individuals active in the financial inclusion sector in developing countries. It numbers over 130 members from all geographic regions and specialisations of the microfinance community, including consultants & support service providers, investors, FSPs, multilateral & national development agencies, NGOs and researchers. Up to two billion people remain financially excluded. To address this, the Platform seeks to promote co-operation, dialogue and innovation among these diverse stakeholders working in developing countries. e-MFP fosters activities which increase global access to affordable, quality sustainable and inclusive financial services for the un(der)banked by driving knowledge-sharing, partnership development and innovation.

For more information, contact: Niamh Watters,;




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