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December 2, 2016 in Center for Financial Inclusion, Client Protection, Financial Education, Financial Inclusion, Microfinance, Smart Campaign, Technology | Tags: Advans, Digital Finance, European Microfinance Platform, European Microfinance Week, Financial Inclusion Equity Council, Kashf Foundation, M-CRIL, Microfinance, Myanmar, Refugees, Smart Certification, Social Performance Task Force, The Smart Campaign, UNCDF, VisionFund | by Center for Financial Inclusion | Leave a comment
> Posted by Lizzy Bolze, Analyst, Investing in Inclusive Finance, CFI
The following post was originally published on the Accion blog.
European Microfinance Platform is celebrating 10 years of supporting inclusive finance innovation, and hosted European Microfinance Week 2016 (EMW) in Luxembourg a few weeks ago. At the conference, I joined discussions about key organizations and challenges in the industry. Here are five of the main takeaways from the week:
1. The Underserved Refugee Population
The Social Performance Task Force (SPTF) is helping to provide financial services to the refugee population, which is now approximately 20 million people. In reality we don’t know very much about the socioeconomic needs of refugees, and much of the research is focused on humanitarian efforts. SPTF is working to research and provide guidelines to financial service providers to better serve the financial needs of this population. The guidelines will be published on SPTF’s website in the coming months. Learn more about leading organizations supporting refugees from CFI’s blog series on refugees.
2. Opportunity in Myanmar
Representatives from VisionFund, Advans, UNCDF, and M-CRIL provided a look at the economic landscape of Myanmar and the future of financial inclusion there. In Myanmar, 70 percent of the population was excluded from formal financial services until 2011, when microfinance rapidly expanded. After 2011, 267 licensed Monetary Financial Institutions (MFIs) opened. This opportunity comes with many barriers to inclusion, such as a lack of government regulation and funds and capacity-building issues. However, there is widespread optimism with an adoption of regulations proposed by the Smart Campaign, as well as further demand for microfinance in Myanmar. Investors should consider moving into the region for long term impact.
March 26, 2015 in Center for Financial Inclusion, Client Focus, Client Protection, Microfinance, Smart Campaign, Social Performance, Women and Financial Inclusion | Tags: Client Protection Principles, Kashf Foundation, Microfinance, Pakistan, Pakistan Microfinance Network, Smart Assessments, Smart Certification, The Smart Campaign | by Center for Financial Inclusion | Leave a comment
> Posted by Khadija Ali, Social Analyst, Pakistan Microfinance Network
The Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN) – a national association of over 50 microfinance providers (MFPs) – has supported its members in conducting third-party client protection assessments using the Smart Campaign’s Smart Assessment tool. To date, 18 assessments have been conducted, covering over 60 percent of the market in terms of overall outreach to active borrowers. These assessments have been made possible with funding support from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) through the UK Aid-sponsored Financial Inclusion Program (FIP). The assessments provide a unique opportunity for PMN to observe the state of practice in client protection among member MFPs. For participating MFPs, the assessments provide an opportunity to evaluate their practices in comparison with globally accepted standards of client protection, and seek recommendations for institutional improvements to better comply with the standards. They also indicate whether an institution is ready to pursue Smart Certification, a designation recognized across the global market that an institution successfully integrates the Client Protection Principles into their practices. After undergoing an assessment and acting on its results, Kashf Foundation (KF) recently became the first microfinance institution in Pakistan to achieve Smart Certification.
The Pakistan Microfinance Network, a strategic partner of the Smart Campaign, sat down with Roshaneh Zafar, Managing Director of Kashf Foundation, to talk about the certification experience.