Opening remarks

  • Manuel TONNAR, Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs – Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs
  • Manuel TONNAR welcomed the participants of the European Microfinance Week to Luxembourg and to the Abbaye de Neumünster. He then presented a short video on Luxembourg’s development cooperation strategy:  Road to 2030. The new strategy focuses on four thematic priorities: 1) Access to quality basic social services; 2) Socio-economic integration of women and youth; 3) Inclusive and sustainable growth; and 4) Inclusive governance. 

    Tonnar emphasised that the Road to 2030 is a strategy mainly based on implementation through technical assistance and exchange of experiences. He added that the strategy is about innovation, testing new ideas, multi-stakeholder approaches and bringing people together to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Tonnar highlighted that financial inclusion is one of the most powerful tools in making sure that no-one is left behind. 

    Referring to the theme of this year’s European Microfinance Award, Tonnar mentioned that the finalists are showing us how digital inclusive finance is changing the value proposition for customers and institutions. He added that technological innovations represent tremendous opportunities in securing fast and cheap access to financial services, having reduced the number of financially-excluded individuals, and having created new business models and partnerships. Tonnar stressed, however, that there are many opportunities in digital finance yet to be availed of, and many challenges to be overcome. 

    In his final words, Tonnar highlighted the Luxembourg government’s support to inclusive finance over the past two decades, with the objective of promoting economic development and eradicating poverty. In order to reach these objectives, Luxembourg has been facilitating access of the poor to basic financial services, credit, savings, insurance, and money transfers. He added that Luxembourg has grown to be a centre of excellence for inclusive finance. He revealed that about one third of the microfinance investment vehicles are based in Luxembourg, with private funds being primarily invested in developing countries. Tonnar also called attention to the several public-private partnerships and multi-stakeholder approaches that take place in Luxembourg, involving actors such as e-MFP, the Luxembourg Microfinance Development Fund, the Microinsurance Network and ADA, as well as partners such as the EIB, the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology, LuxFLAG and the House of Training.