The MasterCard Foundation Symposium Focuses On Poverty

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poverty-africa

For those living in remote or rural areas, having financial inclusion is beneficial to businesses and, more significantly, poorer people in developing countries.

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.

Recognising the urgent need to increase access to and usage of financial products and services, The 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, The 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 organisations 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.