29 October 2017 – 1 December 2017European Microfinance Week (EMW), hosted by European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), is an important event in the microfinance calendar and a meeting point for microfinance professionals working worldwide. The theme this year is: Inclusive green finance, digital innovations, SME finance and rural finance.

EMW brings together all sectors of the inclusive finance sector including consultants & support service providers, investors, multilateral & national development agencies, NGOs and researchers.Last year’s event attracted close to 500 participants from 58 countries.

Extracts of the programme:
Rural youth and agriculture The purpose of this session is to discuss the challenges that limit rural youth participation in agricultural sector activities, which are the mainstay of many rural economies. These challenges are: insufficient access to relevant knowledge, information and education; limited involvement in policy dialogue; limited access to land; limited access to markets; difficulty accessing green jobs; and inadequate access to inclusive rural financial services.
  • Moderator: Jonathan Agwe, IFAD
  • Yves Moury, Fundacion Capital
  • Ken Lohento, Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA)
  • Stephen Muchiri, The Eastern Africa Farmers’ Federation (EAFF)
Scaling up African MFIs

For some time, MFIs in Africa have lagged behind their peers in other parts of the globe. Lack of institutional capacity, consistent regulations, high operating costs, political instability, and many other factors have all played their part. Yet Africa is too large and too diverse to be painted with a single brush. Many African MFIs have been leaders in savings and other non-credit services. MFIs in Kenya have shown the world how to incorporate digital services operations to reach ever more remote and poor clients. Fintech has been a major force throughout the continent. And new entities, including home-grown organizations spanning multiple countries have been paving new roads in the financial inclusion map. 

  • Moderator: Soulémane Djobo, ADA
  • Grégoire Danel-Fedou, Advans Group
  • Alexandre Nayme, BNP Paribas
  • Eric Campos, Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation
  • Edmund Higenbottam, Verdant Capital
Low cost technology solutions for increasing outreach
Technology is often seen as too expensive. But over the past few years there has been an emergence of more affordable solutions: for instance microATMs or cheap POS on the hardware side, or Open Source/Software as a Service solutions on the software side. This session will give an overview of affordable solutions and discuss how those solutions can help in extending outreach to remote or rural areas using technology, or benefit to smaller MFIs that could not get equipped until recently.

  • Moderator: Camilla Nestor, MIX
  • Abdukodir Sattorov, Agora Microfinance Zambia
  • Mamadou Lamine Gueye, Caurie-Microfinance, Senegal
  • Jeroen Harteveld, FMO
  • Alexis Lebel, OpenCBS
The transformative role of insurance in African agricultureSmall farmers need to invest in their farms to move out of poverty. They are rightly concerned about the risk of doing so. What is more they lack access to the finance to facilitate this move; again because of the lenders’ risk concerns. Furthermore, even where development organisations are supporting large groups of farmers, worries of risk concentration create a further barrier even when risks have been managed down. Does insurance hold the key?

This session explored how VisionFund, World Vision, Global Parametrics, ACRE Africa and the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture are partnering to deliver an insurance model that transforms the risk equation for smallholders to facilitate a rise out of poverty. Panellists described how this public/private partnership is offsetting risk for the world’s most vulnerable people, providing the opportunity to:

  1. Learn how partnerships allow for risk reduction, risk transfer, innovation and scale 
  2. Explore the role insurance plays in the pathway for farmers as they use agricultural finance to develop from poor subsistence farming through to initial levels of commercial operation 
  3. Learn how the partnership has delivered a holistic model of risk transfer for farmers by providing group multi-peril crop insurance (GMPCI) and a financial disaster risk management solution that ensures that they can access the credit they need even when major climate events occur
  • Moderator: Katharine Pulvermacher, Microinsurance Network
  • Emily White, Global Parametrics
  • Olga Speckhardt, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture
  • Stewart McCulloch, VisionFund International

This post was originally published at PAEPARD and has been republished with permission.

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