Mastercard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion Advocates for Financial Service Providers to Focus on Those Living in Poverty

Two-thirds of adults in Africa do not have an account at a formal financial institution The 2016 Symposium will offer insights into sustainable business models to drive financial inclusion

Kigali, Rwanda, October 5, 2016 – Financial inclusion is beneficial to businesses and poor people in developing countries, in particular to people living in rural or remote areas. Research shows that access to formal financial services can boost job creation, increase investments in education, and directly help people living in poverty to manage risk and absorb financial shocks. Yet two-thirds of adults in Africa, for instance, do not have an account at a formal financial institution.

Recognizing the urgent need to increase access to and usage of financial products and services, Mastercard Foundation will hold its fourth Symposium on Financial Inclusion on October 20-21, 2016. The two-day event, being held in Kigali, will convene global thought leaders, such as Eldar Shafir, co-author of “Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much,” and Nick Hughes, founder of mobile money leader M-PESA and co-founder of M-KOPA, who will share the latest advances in industry practices. The Symposium will cover a range of issues including how the work of behavioural economists can advance client centricity, methods of creating long-term relationships with underserved clients, and demonstrations of the business case for doing so.

“Financial inclusion is essential to improving the livelihoods of people living in underserved communities, and for advancing a country’s overall economic growth and prosperity,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation. “Large numbers of people across the developing world need and want access to modern financial products and services that work for them. This Symposium is promoting the innovation, learning and sharing of knowledge that will spur more inclusive financial systems.”

At the Symposium, Mastercard Foundation will also award its 2016 Clients at the Centre Prize – a US$150,000 initiative to find and recognize the organizations most focused on client centricity as a means to enable poor people in developing countries to access formal financial products and services.

The prize will be awarded after three finalist organizations present their ideas to the audience, which will vote for the winner. The three finalists are:

  • Artoo IT Solutions (India), a digital lending business;
  • Fourth Generation Capital (Kenya), a lending company focused on micro-entrepreneurs; and
  • Hello Paisa (South Africa), a mobile money transfer company working with migrant populations.

To follow the conversation at the Symposium on Financial Inclusion, follow the Foundation on Twitter @MastercardFdn via the event hashtag: #SoFI2016.

About the Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest private foundations its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world.

Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation was created in 2006. For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit Follow the Foundation at @MastercardFdn on Twitter.

For more information, please contact:
Roger Morier
Senior Manager, Communications
Tel: +1-416-616-1864