Does technology solve the financial inclusion spheres in Africa and does it directly impact the lives of rural communities?
These were among the issues that were discussed during this years annual MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial inclusion which took place in Kigali, Rwanda, from the 20-21 October. The Symposium was the annual gathering of more than 300 financial service practitioners and experts serving the needs of poor people in developing countries.
The overall theme of the MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion was ‘Clients at the Centre,’ which was set out to challenge financial service providers (FSPs) in developing countries to improve the adoption, range and impact of financial services for low-income households in a way that makes good business sense.
The MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion promotes the idea that banks and other financial service providers in developing countries should focus on the needs and expectations of people living in poverty.
The MasterCard Foundation believes that banks and other financial service providers in developing countries should focus on the needs and expectations of people living in poverty. Putting poor clients at the centre of the design of new financial products and services helps bring underserved people into the formal banking system, improving their livelihoods and their ability to plan for the future. The Clients at the Centre Prize finds and recognizes the most customer-focused organizations working to deliver access to formal financial products and services to poor people.
Ahmed Cassim, Managing Director of the Hello Group Financial Services unit, said “This exercise with The MasterCard Foundation has been truly amazing. It’s forced us to look deeper into client centricity and really ask ourselves some challenging questions. We are truly honoured to have won this prize and we will not let the Foundation down.”
Awards were also given out, and Hello Paisa was one of the organizations that were privileged to be awarded.
“Hello Paisa has shown, and the audience agreed, that we can only achieve full universal financial inclusion if financial service providers truly understand the context and needs of the people that they serve.” said Ann Miles, Director of Financial Inclusion and Youth Livelihoods at The MasterCard Foundation.
The other two Prize finalists were Artoo IT Solutions, a digital lending business and 4G Capital, a loan company focused on micro-entrepreneurs.
The Foundation believes that universal access to finance, embedded in the Sustainable Development Goals, can be achieved only if economically disadvantaged people have access to safe, affordable and convenient financial products and services. That can occur only if financial service providers truly understand the complex financial lives of poor people and design and deliver products that respond to them.
The Conference was attended by more than 300 senior practitioners and experts from the world’s financial inclusion community will attend. Speakers include senior representatives of financial service providers, including the Commercial Bank of Africa, Kenya Commercial Bank, and PostBank Uganda, mobile network operators such as Orange and Vodacom, and thought leaders from Princeton University, Syracuse University, M-KOPA and CGAP.