This year’s Financial Inclusion Week is a chance for our industry to reflect on the purpose and impacts of our work as an industry. At CFI, we’re observing trends that make us believe this an important time to reflect on these issues, which is why we’ve chosen the theme “Financial Inclusion: For What?”.
As we described throughout our Mainstreaming Financial Inclusion series, the digital revolution is fundamentally altering how traditional financial service providers and innovative fintechs interact with each other and how they recruit, onboard, serve, and retain customers. The potential opportunities are limitless, but the move to digital also exposes low-income households to new and poorly understood risks.
Simultaneously, the scope of the financial inclusion industry has widened dramatically. Attention and investment once given almost entirely to microcredit is now being shared with cash transfer, savings, and insurance services, and these products are being offered through increasingly dynamic platforms. When used well, the financial ecosystem can be staggeringly important, delivering digital payments to health workers combating Ebola, facilitating life-saving G2P and P2P cash transfers, or providing working capital to small businesses at critical moments. When it works less well, we read about Kenyans racking up unpaid gambling debts financed through mobile money-delivered nano loans.
Financial Inclusion Week is an opportunity to explore this dynamism while reflecting and refocusing our goals as an industry. Why are those of us in this space engaging in this important work? How do our goals inform our perspective on these and other trends? What does it mean if we’re working to different or competing aims? How should we think about success, and what is necessary to ensure we achieve it?
During Financial Inclusion Week events, four possible answers to the question “Financial Inclusion: For What?” will be in focus.
From October 21 to 25, 2019, CFI and partner institutions will be hosting digital and in-person events to explore these questions, and we invite you to join the conversation. During Financial Inclusion Week events, four possible answers to the question “Financial Inclusion: For What?” will be in focus. We’ll ask leading voices in the industry to debate the merits of these questions and articulate why these objectives should or shouldn’t be the guiding light of the industry.