European Microfinance Week 2019 (EMW) took place during 20th to 22nd November at the Abbaye de Neümunster in Luxembourg. On behalf of e-MFP, it is our pleasure to share in this report a session-by-session recap of the conference, including all its emerging ideas and lively discussions.
EMW’s goal is connecting the inclusive finance world, and this year brought together 450 stakeholders from 62 countries with an incredible broad and deep range of global expertise - practitioners, investors, academics and support providers among them - to present and debate the key current and future issues in the financial inclusion sector.
A member-driven conference supported by the Luxembourg government, EMW continues to grow as one of the most important annual events in the financial inclusion sector, bringing together all branches of the industry. Reflecting broader trends, the focus has expanded beyond microfinance into various aspects of financial inclusion, from FinTech to off-grid energy finance, from branchless banking to index insurance, from finance for refugees to client protection.
EMW featured three plenary sessions – one on the topic of the European Microfinance Award, Strengthening resilience to climate change through financial inclusion – as well as two others: Protecting the working poor in the 21st century through responsible finance; and Responsible client choices in finance: whose responsibility is it? The plenaries were complemented by a diverse range of workshop sessions – featuring over 90 organisations – which showcased the most exciting innovations advancing sustainable and responsible financial inclusion around the world. Just a selection of these topics illustrates how much the sector continues to evolve: impact investing, education, use of data in climate resilient agriculture, measuring outcomes, the Atlas data platform, financial health, financial inclusion in Bangladesh, savings, refugee finance, cooperatives and cyber security. And in parallel to these workshops was a stream of sessions on the Award topic of climate change, and how the sector can find solutions within agri-finance, energy and new uses of data – among others.
Knowledge exchange on new issues, challenges, initiatives and ideas is a big part of EMW, but the opportunities to network and establish new partnerships is equally important to those who come. With so many of the sector’s opinion-makers and leaders present, we were delighted to see delegates seize the opportunity to build new relationships to advance common goals.
We hope you enjoy this report which summarises the important discussions, findings and presentations of the conference, and we look forward to meeting at the next European Microfinance Week, from 18th to
20th November 2020 in Luxembourg.
Laura Hemrika, e-MFP Chairwoman
Christoph Pausch, e-MFP Executive Secretary