Responsible Finance Forum VIII – 2017

Opportunities and Risks in Digital Financial Services, Consumer Protection and Data Privacy


This year’s Forum was hosted on April 27-28 by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), preceding the Forum and Plenary of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) on 2-4 May 2017 in Berlin.  The Forum is co-organized by The Better Than Cash Alliance, Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, International Finance Cooperation (IFC), United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the World Bank.

The RFF’s discussions focused on customer data protection and privacy issues against the background of the continuous, rapid digitization in the financial sector and the changing landscape of financial service providers. The current advances in data-enabled financial services delivery raise important opportunities and risks for low-income consumers in developing countries, as new types of data are used on a new, massive scale and new business models depend on the use and commercialization of data in a new fashion.


The agenda was designed to explore private and public sector insights, opportunities and emerging solutions related to Consumer Protection and Data Privacy.  The Panels covered the following topics:

  • Opportunities and Risks of Data-Enabled Digital Financial Services: Two Sides of the Same Coin
  • Innovations and Predictive Models for Business Growth: Advancing Data Privacy and Security
  • Effective Data Privacy Regulation and Supervision for Digital Financial Services
  • Industry Approaches to Data Privacy and Protection
  • Algorithms, Anonymization and APIs: Everything you wanted to know about Big Data but were afraid to ask.

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Key Takeaways

Focus Sessions

The Focus Sessions on Translating Insights into Action on Data Protection and Privacy were:

1. Policy, Regulation and Supervision – Participants discussed ways to close data and knowledge gaps and identify action areas for effective and evidenced-based policy, regulation and supervision.

2. Industry Standards – Participants explored industry trends, opportunities and emerging solutions through private and public sector initiatives towards data privacy and protection practices across different digital channels including payments, agent network partnerships, FinTech, InsurTech and other business models.

3. Consumer Perspectives and Attitudes – Participants discussed consumer attitudes and perspectives towards data privacy, reasonable expectations of consumers in terms of protecting their data (e.g., Is “informed consent” appropriate? What are the alternatives?) and will identify approaches to enable consumers to understand and make decisions regarding their data.

4. Strategic Collaboration with Development Partners and Investors – Participants explored collaboration and cooperation across public and private sector leaders and how development partners and investors can advance this cooperation. How can global partnerships be more effective and nimble given the pace of technological developments in responsible digital financial inclusion? How can risks be managed more systematically to reinforce customer trust through improved customer data privacy and protection?

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What’s Next? Forging a Vision – Rapporteurs of the focus sessions will share results and recommendations for specific stakeholder groups or collective action. Participants will agree on action areas and recommendations for regulation and supervision of digital financial services to protect costumers and their privacy ensuring responsible financial inclusion in the face of continuous digitization. Action areas are assigned to G20 GPFI for presentation at the G20 GPFI Forum on May 2-3 or the plenary on May 4 and for further inclusion into the G20 GPFI action agenda.

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 The speakers and panelists included an impressive list of experts from governments, multilateral organizations, think tanks and industry leaders.   See the biographies of all panelists, moderators and speakers:



The event was hosted in the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in Berlin.  If you would like to see more information on location, accommodation, transportation and visa requirements please consult the:



You can browse through photos from the event here:



Previous Forums

The seventh annual Responsible Finance Forum was held in Xi’an, China. The Topics were Responsible Finance Inclusion and Digital Innovation: Focus on Asia. See this report or the video summary below for more details.

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