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Symposium to focus on financial institutions role in poverty fight

By Faridhah Kulabako

Added 6th October 2016 01:02 PM

The meeting will promote innovation, learning and sharing of knowledge that will spur more inclusive financial systems.

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The meeting will promote innovation, learning and sharing of knowledge that will spur more inclusive financial systems.

Client centricity and designing and delivering financial products that enable the poor people access safe, affordable and convenient services are expected to take centre stage at the forth coming MasterCard Foundation symposium on financial inclusion.

The two-day symposium slated for October 20 -21 in Kigali, Rwanda will bring together global thought leaders and financial institutions players to discuss ways of deepening financial inclusion through increased access to and usage of financial products and services.

The forum is expected to discuss innovative solutions for what clients value, new frontiers in client protection, financial inclusion and partnerships to generate value.

It will also promote innovation, learning and sharing of knowledge that will spur more inclusive financial systems.

The President and chief executive officer The MasterCard Foundation Reeta Roy said in a statement that financial inclusion is essential for improving the livelihoods of people living in underserved communities, and for advancing a country’s overall economic growth and prosperity.

Access to formal financial services, she added, can boost job creation, increase investments in education and directly help people living in poverty to manage risk and absorb financial shocks.

“Expanded opportunities to save securely, to invest in productive activities and to protect against unforeseen shocks, would meet the needs of the underserved populations,” Roy said.

She added that universal access to finance, embedded in the Sustainable Development Goals, can be achieved only if economically disadvantaged people have access to safe, affordable and convenient financial products and services.

According to the World Bank, increased financial inclusion has potential to reduce the widening income inequality, promote economic empowerment and protect low income households and unlock the growth potential of the fast expanding middle class population.

Last week, the bank called for a fresh drive to tackle inequality after warning that the gap between rich and poor risks thwarting its ambition of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030.

Prior to its annual meeting with the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC last week, the Bank said that the number of people living on less than $1.90 (about sh6370) a day – the accepted benchmark for extreme poverty – had continued to fall despite the sluggishness of the global economy in the years after the financial crisis.

It added that faster growth and a range of anti-inequality measures are needed to meet the twin goals set by its president, Jim Yong Kim: reducing poverty from just under 11% of the global population to 3% and boosting the incomes of the bottom 40% of the population in each country.

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