Mastercard Foundation to hold 5th financial inclusion forum in Accra

The Mastercard Foundation is set to hold its fifth annual and largest Symposium on Financial Inclusion (SoFI) in Accra.

The symposium, slated for November 7 – 9, 2017, will champion the idea that, to achieve greater financial inclusion, financial service providers in developing countries must do more to meet the needs and expectations of the poor.

As always, it will bring together hundreds of industry professionals to focus on barriers to greater financial inclusion around the world. Indeed, SoFI has been a platform where experts in the field gather to pave the way toward a more financially inclusive world.

Participants will exchange knowledge on a broad range of topics, including client centricity, technology, innovation, best practices, partnerships, and many more.

This year’s event will reflect on progress made over the past five years, explore challenges that still lie ahead, and plan how to expand and deepen financial inclusion for the world’s most underserved people.

A statement from MasterCard Foundation quoted its President and CEO Reeta Roy as saying “Creating a more financially inclusive world is a daunting task (but) after five years of gathering the brightest minds in the field to advance access and resources to modern financial products and services, we’ve made significant progress that will continue to make a difference in the lives of people.”

He said this year’s Symposium will celebrate the progress made over these past five years and define the work yet to be done.

Those billed to deliver keynote addresses at the symposium are Juliet Anammah, Chief Executive Officer, Jumia Nigeria, and Dr. Ernest Addison, Governor, Bank of Ghana. Plus more than 30 others will speak on various related topics.

The statement said the Foundation will also use the occasion to award its 2017 Clients at the Centre Prize, which is a US$150,000 award that recognizes an organization most focused on client centricity to enable poor people in developing countries access to formal financial products and services.

It said finalists competing for the grand prize will present their business models to an audience of approximately 400 industry professionals, who will be tasked with voting for the winner.

The Mastercard Foundation first awarded the Clients at the Centre Prize in 2015 to the Swedish mobile microinsurance firm BIMA. Last year, the Prize was presented to the South African international remittance company, Hello Paisa. Each year draws nearly 100 applicants from companies around the globe.

The three 2017 finalists are:

– Jump, a large-scale, low-cost financial services marketplace that uses behavioral data from mobile usage to create financial identities for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises;

–  ftCash, one of India’s fastest growing financial technology ventures which aims to empower micro-merchants and small businesses with the power of digital payments and loans; and

– Destacame, a free online platform that empowers users by giving them control over their data to build their financial capabilities and to access financial products.

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