The Mastercard Foundation has announced its fifth annual and largest Symposium on Financial Inclusion (SoFI) to take place in Accra, on November 7 to 9, 2017.
The Symposium champions the idea that to achieve greater financial inclusion, financial service providers in developing countries must do more to meet the needs and expectations of people living in poverty.
A statement issued by Mastercard Foundation and copied to the Ghana News Agency, said each year since 2013 the Foundation has convened hundreds of industry professionals to focus on barriers to greater financial inclusion around the world.
The statement said SoFI had been a platform where experts in the field gathered to pave the way toward a more financially inclusive world.
“They 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,” the statement said.
Reeta Roy, the President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation said: “Creating a more financially inclusive world is a daunting task.
“Over the years, financial inclusion has increased as a priority for the international development community, as well as governments, business owners, and the clients they serve.
“After five years of gathering the brightest minds in the field to advance access and resources to modern financial products and services, we have made significant progress that will continue to make a difference in the lives of people. This year’s Symposium celebrates the progress made over these past five years and defines the work yet to be done.”
The statement said attendees will hear from an impressive line-up of keynote speakers, including: Opening Keynote Address by Juliet Anammah, Chief Executive Officer, Jumia Nigeria and Keynote Address II by Dr Ernest Addison, Governor, Bank of Ghana
It said in addition to hearing from more than 30 other speakers at the Symposium, the Foundation will also award its 2017 Clients at the Centre Prize.
It said this 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 statement said the Mastercard Foundation first awarded the Clients at the Centre Prize in 2015 to the Swedish mobile microinsurance firm BIMA.
The statement said last year, the Prize was presented to the South African international remittance company, Hello Paisa.
It said each year draws nearly 100 applicants from companies around the globe. The three 2017 finalists are: Jumo: 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.
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, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation
was created in 2006.