Accra — The Mastercard Foundation is hosting its fifth annual and largest Symposium on Financial Inclusion (SoFI) in Accra, Ghana.
The symposium, which ends today, champions the idea that, to achieve greater financial inclusion, financial service providers in developing countries must do more to meet the needs and expectations of people living in poverty.
Each year, since 2013 ,the Foundation has convenes hundreds of industry professionals to focus on barriers to greater financial inclusion around the world. SoFI has been a platform where experts in the field gather to pave the way toward a more financially inclusive world.
They exchange knowledge on a broad range of topics, including client centricity, technology, innovation, best practices, partnerships, and many more.
"Creating a more financially inclusive world is a daunting task," said Ms Reeta Roy, the president and chief executive officer of the Mastercard Foundation.
She added: "Over the years, financial inclusion has increased as a priority for the international development community, as well as governments, business owners, and the clients they serve."
After five years of gathering the brightest minds in the field to advance access and resources to modern financial products and services, we've made significant progress that will continue to make a difference in the lives of people.
This year's symposium celebrates the progress made over these past five years and defines the work yet to be done."
Uganda launched its National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) 2017 - 2022 which seeks to reduce financial exclusion from 15 to five per cent by 2022.
Speaking during the launch, Bank of Uganda (BoU) Governor Tumusiime Mutebile, said the ultimate objective of enhancing financial inclusion is to improve the welfare of Ugandan citizens and to contribute to socio-economic development.
First Deputy Prime Minister Moses Ali who presided over the launch said a financially included population is key to reducing income inequality and poverty as well as boosting productivity and growth. He added: "Such a population will accelerate the realisation of Uganda's aspirations to become a middle-income country."
The NFIS was developed by the ministry of Finance and BoU, in consultation with various stakeholders.
In addition to hearing from more than 30 other speakers at the symposium, the Foundation will also award its 2017 Clients at the Centre Prize.
This is a $150,000 (Shs544m) award that recognises an organisation most focused on client centricity to enable poor people in developing countries access to formal financial products and services.
Finalists competing for the grand prize will present their business models to an audience of approximately 400 industry professionals, who will be tasked with voting for the winner.
The Mastercard Foundation first awarded the Clients at the Centre Prize in 2015 to the Swedish mobile microinsurance firm BIMA.
Last year, the Prize was presented to the South African international remittance company, Hello Paisa. Each year draws nearly 100 applicants from companies around the globe.