Bridging the gap between research and practice on financial inclusion and microfinance is essential to strengthen the effectiveness of the sector, assess its impact and further new frontiers of development. The Action Group on Research (AG on Research) will bring the latest research findings, best practices and new technologies to practitioners in a language easily understood by all will considerably increase the usefulness of research and contribute to improve the lives of the populations in developing countries served by the financial sector.

The AG on Research comprises a group of academics, practitioners and experts on financial inclusion and international development ready to share and exchange knowledge, experience and passion in a multidisciplinary and multinational environment. We aim to strengthen and complement the profiles of the group and collaborate on a friendly and flexible manner.

The AG on Research is currently working on a comprehensive analysis of the impact of COVID-19 crisis on the microfinance sector. The analysis consists of three key activities: an in-depth literature and secondary information review, interviews of key players and a survey. During European Microfinance Week 2020, the AG organised a session 'Covid-19 and the Financial Inclusion Vaue Chain' in which the Action Group Heads, Davide Castellani and Max Niño – Zarazua presented the preliminary results of the research conducted and moderated a panel discussion on the case of Mexico with an FSP (Te Creemos), an investor (Global Partnerships) and the regulatory authority (Mexican Banking and Securities Commission) sharing their experiences in the response to the Covid-19 crisis.


Webinar: How FinTech regulation drives Financial Inclusion? (video recording)

The impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the Financial Inclusion Value Chain (video)

EMW 2020 Panel Session: Covid-19 and the Financial Inclusion Value Chain

Action Group Heads

Davide Castellani, University of Bergamo

Davide Castellani is Associate Professor of Banking and Finance at the department of management of the University of Bergamo. He is co-head of the action group "From research to practice" of the European Microfinance Platform. Castellani has more than ten years' experience in the field of financial inclusion. Castellani obtained a degree in Economics from the University of Bergamo, a master's degree in International Relations from the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (Spain) and a PhD in Economics of Financial Markets and Institutions from the Catholic Unversity of Milan. He was a visiting scholar at Rural Finance Program of the Ohio State University (USA).

Max Niño – Zarazua, Independant Consultant

Max Nino-Zarazua is a seasoned financial inclusion professional with over 19 years of experience working at senior level positions for microfinance institutions, banks, development organisations and as an independent consultant. Max offers a unique combination of academic excellence having a PhD in Economics and International Development by a British university, Mexican grass roots delivery experience and industry insight from co-founding his own FinTech start-up and currently working with DAI leading the implementation of the British Embassy’s Prosperity Fund - Financial Services Programme in Mexico. He is also a visiting fellow at the Centre of Development Studies, University of Bath, and peer referee at the Journal of Development Studies, UK.


Joana Afonso