What are the Essentials for Advancing Financial Inclusion?

Posted By Lory Camba Opem
14 Dec 2016
financial inclusion

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Boulder Institute for Microfinance just delivered a week-long program for senior financial inclusion professionals entitled Back to Boulder: Strategic Response to Risk in Microfinance Markets.”  Hosted at IFC in partnership with Boulder, the program was timely and most relevant.  It sought to address shifting landscapes for traditional microfinance delivery and those expanding services through digital finance channels.  It proactively engaged financial institutions that were operating in a myriad of markets and regions, including those which were yet to face unforeseen risks, and those managing to successfully deliver financial inclusion services, notwithstanding today’s volatile macroeconomic environments and increasing competition.

As such, the program was carefully structured to give participants the option to choose from two parallel tracks, depending on their financial inclusion strategy and business needs.  One track focused on strategic risk governance and management; and the second track focused on knowing the customer through new/enhanced tools in customer segmentation, behavioral economics and big data analytics. The program was enriched by candid discussions and interactive class participation from nearly 100 CEOs and senior managers from microfinance institutions from more than 35 countries.

The 5-day program is the first of its kind, which combined IFC’s more than two decades of practical experience in microfinance as investor-advisor, and Boulder’s expert-based learning methods which culled the latest data, research and evidence on microfinance sector trends, emerging risks and transformative strategies.

martinMartin Holtmann, Manager of Microfinance and Digital Financial Services at IFC said, “As IFC continues to support expanded financial access through the diversification of financial products and delivery channels, it is imperative that financial institutions are equipped with the skills to grow sustainably. This program enables IFC to leverage its experience in investment and private sector development with Boulder’s distinguished history of educating world leaders in microfinance. “

Robert Christen, President at the Boulder Institute added “At the Boulder Institute of Microfinance we see this program as one of a series of bobnew offerings designed to keep microfinance institutions
competitive and capable of delivering on their social mission in an ever-changing world.  We hope that through our programs financial
service providers can confront strategic risks through innovation that serves clients more completely in a next generation of products and channels.”

Since pioneering commercial microfinance in the early 1990s, IFC has continued to lead innovation in microfinance, using developments in technology, financial products, and policy to help financial institutions reach a greater number of people in a more cost-effective way. As of June 30, 2016, IFC had over $5 billion in cumulative committed investments in more than 128 MFI partners across 56 countries. In 2015, IFC clients provided 51.2 million microloans worth $59.5 billion.

The peer-learning program ultimately provided microfinance CEOs and senior management with enhanced knowledge and tools to address major risk trends facing MFIs globally. The program gave participants essential techniques for comprehensive risk management, good governance, and customer approaches to deepen responsible financial access for the millions of excluded worldwide. These are the core essentials for advancing financial inclusion.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org

About Boulder
Boulder Institute of Microfinance is a not-for-profit organization that has been dedicated to broadening financial inclusion systems through sustainable microfinance programs for the past 22 years. We offer training to senior and mid-level professionals from an array of institutions dedicated to providing microfinance services as a way to fight poverty. Our goal is to both inform and transform. To accomplish this, our program participants are challenged to think critically through intense, interactive seminars and elective courses, analyzing strategic aspects of the industry, debating paradigm shifts, learning through practical case studies, working with new tools, and understanding microfinance best practice. For more information, visit: www.bouldermicrofinance.org

Digital Finance Training Opportunities

09 Dec 2016

The Helix Institute of Digital Finance, founded in November 2013 as a partnership between MicroSave, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), FSD – Africa and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), provides world-class training and cutting-edge data for digital financial service providers.

Our operational training courses are explicitly designed for mobile network operators, banks, financial institutions and third party providers seeking to increase the efficiency and profits of their digital finance business. Held in Nairobi, Kenya we currently run two courses on agent network management –Core Agent Network Accelerator and Advanced Agent Network Accelerator.

In addition to, and supporting the training courses, The Helix Institute publishes exclusive research reports on mobile money agent networks as part of its global Agent Network Accelerator (ANA) Research Programme. ANA, a collaboration between MicroSave and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is the largest research project on agent networks in the world, designed to determine what drives their success and scale. Visit our Data & Insights page for more details.

Helix Institute’s practical training courses equip participants with powerful tools to overcome operational barriers, obtain strategic clarity and develop tactics to tailor best practices to their local ecosystems. Courses are founded in extensive research, combined with hands-on field visits, and conversations with the practitioners that built the most impressive roll-outs in the world. Practitioners leave with the competitive advantage needed to fuel the growth of their operations in the rapidly maturing field of mobile money and agent banking.

Course Offerings:

Key Findings of the Market Outlook for 2017

08 Dec 2016

ResponsAbility’s ‘Micro and SME Finance Market Outlook’, which has been published each year since 2010, is one of the most-read publications about this investment theme. It explores global developments in the microfinance industry and produces forecasts for the next 12-14 months. The publication contains the views of experts from all major markets and combines their assessments with key macroeconomic indicators and the comprehensive data collected through responsAbility’s business activities. For the 2017 edition of the publication, the universe covered in the analysis was expanded to include SME banks for the first time.

Key findings of the Market Outlook 2017:

– In 2017, global micro and SME finance markets will grow by an average of 10-15%.

– 25-30%: The highest growth rate is expected in Asia Pacific, driven by developments in India and strong growth in the region.

– 10-15%: In North Africa and the Middle East, the micro and SME segments continue to be underserved – resulting in significant growth in demand.

– 10%: In Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, experts hope that a gradual recovery of the Russian economy will pave the way for a return to growth.

– 5-10%: In Sub-Saharan Africa, certain markets are experiencing strong catch-up growth, while in other markets, this type of growth is being restricted by the difficult economic environment.

– 5-10%: With its very mature micro and SME finance markets, Latin America expects solid growth, due in part to the positive economic environment in the US.

– 90% of the micro and SME finance experts surveyed anticipate that the proportion of SME financing in their markets will grow over the next five years; 30% expect it to increase by more than 20%.

– 65% of the experts surveyed expect to see a consolidation of financial institutions in their markets.

– 43% indicated that they expect regulation to improve in 2017.

– 50% of all those surveyed believe that the interest rates charged on loans in their markets will decrease in 2017.

Download the Report

About responsAbility

responsAbility Investments AG is one of the world’s leading asset managers in the field of development investments and offers professionally-managed investment solutions to both private and institutional investors. The company’s investment vehicles supply debt and equity financing to non-listed firms in emerging economies and developing countries. Through their activities, these firms help to meet the basic needs of broad sections of the population and to drive economic development – leading to greater prosperity in the long term.

responsAbility currently has USD 3.2 billion of assets under management that is invested in around 561 companies in 96 countries. Founded in 2003, the company is headquartered in Zurich and has local offices in Bangkok, Geneva, Hong Kong, Lima, Luxembourg, Mumbai, Nairobi, Oslo and Paris. Its shareholders include a number of reputable institutions in the Swiss financial market as well as its own employees. responsAbility is registered with the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA.

271 employees in 10 locations


Originally published by “responsAbility – Investment for Prosperity” Learn More about responsAbility Investments AG


Post Event – Back to Boulder: Strategic Response to Risk in Microfinance Markets

Boulder Institute of Microfinance and International Finance Corporation
07 Dec 2016
Back to Boulder

Organized by the Boulder Institute of Microfinance and the International Finance Corporation between Nov. 28 and Dec. 2, the Back to Boulder: Strategic Response to Risk in Microfinance Markets program brought together leaders from within and outside of the microfinance community, as well as international experts in leadership and change management and provided participants with practical tools, cases, and experiences in the areas of:

  • Risk Governance: How to identify macro-level risks in competitive markets, appropriate strategic responses, and the constructive and proactive role boards play in protecting the resiliency of their institutions.
  • Enhanced Competitiveness: Skills needed to enhance impact and competitiveness by attracting, keeping and deepening relationships with clients through a renewed value proposition and successful business models.

See the Press Release

Explore the Photos from the Event

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