1. Support from governments & donors to the civil society and private sector in increasing financial inclusion through Microfinance Organizations (MFOs) in South Asia: MFOs and sector stakeholders will benefit from sharing of best-practices and innovations pioneered in the inclusive finance space in the countries of South Asia and maximize opportunities for cross-learning. We should also be able to share our experience in achieving scale, developing markets and making impact in the lives of the low income and poor segment of the region. This is important to note that FCDO has invested heavily in all these six SAMN countries and hence we propose to hold this event in London. We will focus on how MFOs have achieved scale and provided innovative services and channels in the last 3 decades, till early 2020.
2. How Covid19 has impacted the eco system of financial inclusion, both MFOs and clients: Between early CY 2020 and now the entire eco system of microfinance and financial inclusion went through a downward adjustment, leading to losses for MFOs and loss of jobs and businesses with clients. However, there are bright spots; use of digital channels and understanding the strength of relationship management in building resilience. We will discuss the regional experience in length.
3. Elephant in the room – climate change: As MFOs and its clients are coming out of Covid 19 crisis, both Cop 26 and recent heat wave leading to loss in fruit and wheat production in the region indicates that climate change is staring us, and we all need to address this challenge. We also know that South Asia is amongst the regions most affected by Climate change. There will be discussion on this issue, and we will come up with recommendations so that the financial inclusion world can commit to achievement of certain objectives, and this could lead to both addressing the challenge and converting it into an opportunity.
4. Mobilizing Private Capital Although microfinance has been widely appreciated as a formal financial mechanism to provide financial services to the poor people in developing countries, this sector is still lacking behind in fulfilling the demand gap due to the dearth of adequate funds, both debt and equity. MFIs in the South Asia region have used different approaches to fund growth; however, the consensus lies in accessing private capital. This can be in the form of debt or equity or convertibles; similarly, it can be through off balance sheet transactions like securitization. Whatever may be the case the current penetration levels indicates a huge gap of inclusion and hence the delta for capital is huge. Under this theme, we will share the experiences around mobilizing private capital and the need ahead. Involvement of Impact investors, Microfinance Investment Vehicles and the MFIs from the region will be pivotal in generating a debate leading to future investments for the microfinance industry in the region.
The South Asia Micro-Entrepreneurs Network (SAMN) is a regional network aiming at enhancing capacity, financing and regional dialogue in the microfinance sector of South Asia. SAMN governance is composed of leading Apex Institutions from the countries of the region along with the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED). SAMN also partners with MFIs, Investors, Banks and other key microfinance stakeholders to fulfil its objectives.