Live Virtual Event: Creating an “On-Ramp” For Financial Inclusion
Our Pacific Exchanges team recently hosted a special Financial Inclusion and Beyond live virtual event that explored lessons from around the world in the use of technology and public policy to build more inclusive financial systems and drive financial health.
The event was moderated by Sean Creehan, the team’s lead for financial health and inclusion, and brought together professionals from different corners of the financial inclusion and health spaces, including Greta Bull, the president and chief executive officer of the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP); José Quiñonez, the founding chief executive officer of Mission Asset Fund (MAF); Arjuna Costa, a managing partner at Flourish Ventures; and Ting Jiang, a behavioral economist.
We’re excited to share the live event in full as a special episode of Financial Inclusion and Beyond. Regular listeners of the podcast will recognize these voices from their episodes throughout the season; the live event allowed them to discuss how they were managing the challenges to inclusion posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some take-aways from the live event include:
- The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected efforts to improve financial inclusion and health. Organizations like CGAP, a World Bank Group affiliate, and MAF, which traditionally focus on the longer-term issues of inclusion, had to re-focus efforts almost overnight to deal with issues related to public health.
- Those countries which had invested in digital financial system infrastructure could respond with stimulus relief quicker than those which relied on traditional models. Ting Jiang zeroed in the pandemic’s effects at the individual level.
- At the individual level, it is important to adapt behaviors and develop products and technologies that withstand moments of stress.
- The poor shouldn’t be forced to be secondary or third-order users of financial products but should have access to products designed for their lifestyles at an affordable cost. Fintech should be celebrated when it is also in service of the poor, not simply because it is a shiny new toy.