Algorithmic Governance and Accountability Webinar

Join the Smart Campaign's Alex Taylor for an expert discussion on risks posed by algorithm and machine learning technologies deployed in developing countries—where digital literacy is often low—and possible strategies to mitigate these risks.

The use of algorithms to automate credit decisions, detect fraud, measure risk, and provide customer support has become widespread in the financial sector and is increasingly common in the financial inclusion industry. Artificial intelligence holds immense promise to develop and distribute financial products for previously underserved, low-income consumers by reducing costs and increasing efficiencies and scale.

Yet concerns about the fairness of machine learning systems and algorithmic bias are warranted. Technological systems can inherit the biases of the society where they are developed, through historically available data, training data selection, and choice of machine learning techniques.

  • Algorithms are not designed to be interpretable or explainable, and are treated as trade secrets that are, often rightly, protected from calls for full transparency.
  • Consumers are either unaware that they are the subject of an automated decision or they lack redressal.
  • Government oversight is lacking.

As algorithms, machine learning, and other data analytics are deployed in developing countries, many of these risks are exacerbated due to data limitations and lower levels of digital literacy. Yet, the solution is not to halt innovation, but rather to set up thoughtful oversight measures that align with the technical development process and allow for interpretability of results by policymakers down the road.

The Smart Campaign has proposed what this oversight process could look like for individual financial service providers in the Draft Standards for Digital Credit. Other industries relying on AI and machine learning have begun to develop guidelines and technical capabilities to audit algorithms for bias and discrimination. This webinar will bring together experts with backgrounds in policy, data science, and financial inclusion to discuss the risks to consumers and emerging mitigation strategies (or theories) that can help ensure trust in digital financial services.


Listen to the Webinar


Jacobo Menajovsky

Jacobo Menajovsky is a Data Scientist and a Digital Finance Behaviorist specialized in developing and testing data-driven tools for decision making. Currently, Jacobo is working as an independent consultant for international organizations, NGOs and financial providers; and he also teaches Data Analytics for Financial Inclusion at American University. Back in the day he was part of Citigroup, and later on he crunched some numbers and developed a few scoring models at Equifax.

Rory Macmillan

Rory Macmillan is a founding partner of Macmillan Keck Attorneys & Solicitors, a boutique law firm focused on digital financial services, data protection, telecommunications and competition law. He regularly advises governments, regulatory authorities, digital financial service providers, telecommunication operators and international organizations on legal and regulatory issues. Rory is leading the work on big data, machine learning, privacy and consumer protection in digital financial services for the Financial Inclusion Global Initiative (FIGI) of the World Bank, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He is a member of the American Bar Association Task Force on Big Data. Rory received his LLM from Yale Law School where he was a Fulbright and a Rotary Scholar, and his LLB with First Class Honors from the University of Edinburgh.

Shannon Yates

Shannon Yates is Director of Data at Tala, the leading mobile technology and data science company committed to financial inclusion globally. Tala currently operates in Kenya, Tanzania, the Philippines, and Mexico, and has launched a pilot in India. Tala is backed by leading venture and impact investors including PayPal, Revolution Growth, IVP, and Lowercase Capital. Tala is headquartered in Santa Monica with additional offices in Nairobi, Manila, Dar Es Salaam, Mexico City, and Bangalore.

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