> Posted by Center Staff

The following post was originally published on the CGAP Microfinance Gateway.

In follow up to the Financial Inclusion 2020 Global Forum in October, Susy Cheston, Senior Advisor at the Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI), shares key takeaways from the event and what the ongoing impact of this gathering will be leading up to the year 2020.

The Financial Inclusion 2020 Global Forum was a new event in the industry. Why did CFI organize this event?

Our overall goal for the FI2020 Global Forum was to put forward a vision of full financial inclusion for all by 2020, bringing together the leaders from the private and public sectors who can make that vision a reality. Part of the premise was that these different stakeholders don’t often talk with each other, and that there was value in enabling people who ordinarily work on separate aspects of financial inclusion to hear from each other and become more aware of how their own work fits into the broader picture.

Full financial inclusion by the year 2020 is an audacious goal. Did participants agree it was an achievable one?

Very much so. Participants were very optimistic, especially in light of recent innovations in technology, product development, and regulation.

Anil Aggarwal of Money2020 said it this way in the closing plenary: “Financial inclusion for all is not only possible by 2020, but inevitable. There is more potential for innovation in money in the next 7 years, than in the last 30 years. By 2020 I believe we will see a profound and fundamental shift in the way people do business, manage, and spend money.” Anil wasn’t the only one to highlight the potential. There were exciting looks at the way forward from pioneers in innovation such as Nick Hughes of M-PESA and M-KOPA and Dylan Higgins of Kopo Kopo, regional financial services providers such as AccessBank and the Commercial Bank of Africa, and the CEOs of multinationals such as Citigroup and MasterCard Worldwide, to name a few.

That’s not to diminish the magnitude and complexity of the obstacles that must be overcome to achieve this goal. For example we had healthy discussions about people who have access to services but don’t use them, or don’t benefit from them, or are even harmed by them in some way. We also talked about some of the marginalized groups that are especially vulnerable or have greater barriers to inclusion, such as youth, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and women. The push for access has to go hand in hand with the push for protections for customers and a passionate commitment to understanding customer needs such that our services can truly add value to their lives.

To read the rest of this post, visit the CGAP Microfinance Gateway

Image credit: The Center for Financial Inclusion

Have you read?

Top Ten Takeaways from FI2020 Global Forum Roundtables

Global Forum Roundup Magazine

Financial Inclusion 2020 Global Forum: A Letter to Microfinance Institutions