Jul 22, 2020

From a record field of 70 applicants, 19 proceed to European Microfinance Award 2020 Selection Committee

Amidst the various challenges all sector stakeholders have been facing these past months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, one thing is abundantly clear: savings matter more than ever. This is as true in developed as in emerging economies, and the benefits of savings – cash-flow smoothing, convenience, shock mitigation among many – are crucial to how vulnerable populations can weather crises. The importance of access to effective and inclusive savings is abundantly clear from the results of the recently-published Covid-19 Financial Inclusion Compass.

It’s also clear from the record interest in the European Microfinance Award 2020, on Encouraging Effective & Inclusive Savings. Not only did the first application round receive a record number of responses (70 from 37 countries), but every single applicant invited to proceed to the second  round – 38 out of 38 – completed this more comprehensive application form. This is also a record.

The EMA Preselection Committee then evaluated all 38 against a comprehensive set of criteria that has been developed and evolved over many years, and 19 have been now forwarded to a Selection Committee of experts, who will meet in late September to choose the semi-finalists and three finalists to go to a High Jury.

The 19 pre-selected programs are outstanding – diverse, innovative, comprehensive and imaginative. They are based in 18 different countries, from all the main geographic regions of the world. Among them are 10 microfinance banks, 3 NBFIs, 2 cooperatives/credit unions, 2 FinTechs and 2 NGOs.

The Preselection Committee was especially impressed not only with the time the applicants put into the process, but their initiatives’ clear focus on the components of this year’s topic: inclusivity, client-centricity, encouragement and effectiveness. There are programs that reach many millions of clients, products specifically focused on children and youth, doorstep agent models, financial education initiatives, group and individual models, loan-linked savings – and many others. e-MFP and the Preselection Committee are delighted and grateful that during these difficult times, so many institutions have continued to see the enormous value of the European Microfinance Award, and the importance of highlighting innovation in effective and inclusive savings for the financially underserved.

The Selection Committee will now evaluate these 19 applications, and the semi-finalists and finalists will be announced at the start of October, with the winner announced at a ceremony on 19th November during this year’s (virtual) European Microfinance Week.

We would like to thank once more all those 70 applicants that took part in this year’s Award, and congratulations to those 19 that have been selected to continue further.

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