With a theme of Financial Inclusion for Sustainable Development, this year’s European Microfinance Week conference brought together over 450 opinion-leaders, top management of banks, funds and other financial institutions, practitioners, academics, analysts, raters and industry commentators to present key innovations, challenges, and Best Practice in the inclusive finance sector.
Run by the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), the conference featured multiple workshops, plenaries and Action Groups sessions and trainings, reflecting the breadth and importance of this topic. The event was a great success, with positive feedback in particular about the quality of speakers, networking opportunities, and new linkages forged between investors, practitioners, analysts, and other support providers.
Sustainability in inclusion has never been more important, and the session programme presented the various financial, social and environmental components of sustainability, including identifying overheated and underserved markets to better target growth and increase sustainability; incentivising long-term financing by investors; new approaches to managing risk; expanding outreach through better understanding of client needs and developing tools to reach them effectively and affordably; protecting clients from shocks in difficult contexts and providing them with a suite of financial services for sustainable livelihoods; and increasing environmental sustainability – through finance for clean energy products and improved agricultural practices.
As said in the closing remarks at the end of the conference, what these approaches all have in common is an emerging long-term thinking about the future of the Financial Inclusion sector, and of its clients.
This report seeks to bring together some of the important discussions, findings and presentations of the conference, both for those who were able to attend (but who of course could not be in all sessions at the same time!) and for those unable to be in Luxembourg at the exceptional conference venue, the Abbaye de Neumünster, back in November.
Thanks must go as always to everyone involved in both the conference and the production of this report, and we hope you enjoy it.
We look forward to welcoming you at the next European Microfinance Week, from 16th-18th November 2016.
Anne Contreras, Chairwoman
Christoph Pausch, Executive Secretary