Welcome address & Opening remarks

  • Christoph PAUSCHExecutive Secretary e-MFP

  • Christophe SCHILTZLuxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs

The conference was opened by e-MFP’s Executive Secretary Christoph PAUSCH, who highlighted that the COVID-19 circumstances have led to a complete new setting with this year’s EMW being a virtual event. Given the several challenges for the financial inclusion situation worldwide, it becomes even more important than ever for the members to connect and share, and to reach out to and support people that are most affected.

Pausch welcomed the participants, in particular also the newcomers. He pointed to the rich diversity of topics and formats, more than ever, with some 50 events. He invited participants to engage in networking and open discussions during this first virtual EMW, and made particular reference to the Award Ceremony and the book launch of ‘Taking Shelter’. Pausch thanked all funders and sponsors, as well as supporting organisations, and said he looked forward to the next year and hopefully to meeting in person again.

Christophe SCHILTZ subsequently welcomed all participants on behalf of Luxembourg’s Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. Mr. Schiltz also pointed to the rich format and sessions, representing all the financial inclusion services. It is of utmost importance that the financial inclusion sector remains resilient in the current crisis, with the shift to digital inclusion and services becoming even more prominent. This development has the potential to bypass barriers and provide a boost to economic recovery and growth during and beyond the COVID pandemic.

He also stated that the COVID crisis requires the financial inclusion sector to work together to help consumers to overcome the challenges that come with the pandemic. He observed that several of the financial inclusion partners are already helping to provide insights and transparency in available financial services. This means avoiding competition and building resilience in the sector, and making use of and providing opportunities. This is for instance also highlighted in this year’s theme of effective and inclusive savings. Mr. Schiltz looked forward to in-depth discussions and sharing of experiences, and wished the audience a very successful event.