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Worldwide, 1.7 billion people still have no access to bank accounts, insurance, loans or pensions. The World Bank believes that this limits people’s economic development.
“Fintech has a key role to play in reducing poverty, creating jobs, increasing gender equality and improving food security,” said Peter van Mierlo, CEO of Dutch development bank FMO, in his opening address of the Fintech for Inclusion Global Summit on 8 February 2019, that followed the 2-day CEO Forum. “Fintech will also provide better data and as a result decrease the perceived risk profile of the frontier countries which will lead to more capital for the underbanked. In short Fintech can bring economies to life.”
Dutch development bank FMO, together with Accion and Quona Capital, organised the event where more than 250 Dutch and international bankers and Fintech specialists discussed how to improve financial inclusion through Fintech solutions in emerging markets. Most notably how technology influences the world of finance and how technological applications can help enhance access to safe, affordable financial services, particularly in developing countries.
Photo Credits: Nico Alsemgeest
Special guest was her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, who attended the opening of the Summit, in her capacity as the UN Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development.
Some key insights of the Summit:
Investors increasingly realise the importance of entrepreneurship, innovation and technology in addressing financial inclusion, and are deploying their capital accordingly.
There remains a need to use technology responsibly and inclusively and combine it with touch to ensure that people and businesses financial needs are met. Client Protection Principles and sufficient data protection measures are needed.
Partnerships between Fintech start-ups and established financial institutions hold significant promise for both parties and for enhancing financial inclusion.
There is still a lot of work to be done to create an inclusive financial sector. Both regulators and financial institutions need to come up with future proof solutions. As Director Financial Institutions at FMO, Huib-Jan de Ruijter commented: ”It is important to build the ecosystem together as true financial inclusion is built on partnerships.”