FinDev Guide

Guide to African Microfinance Week 2021

What participants can look forward to at this biennial event
Audience with people raising their hands at SAM Conference. Photo by Jean-Claude Frisque.

“The theme of resilience has been chosen to be at the heart of the reflections and exchanges of the SAM 2021 in order to contribute to the construction of a more agile and impactful inclusive finance sector, able to cope with severe shocks, such as those linked to the Covid-19 pandemic or climate change." - Laura Foschi, Executive Director of ADA

The 5th edition of the African Microfinance Week (referred to as SAM, the French acronym) will take place from 18 to 22 October 2021 in Kigali, Rwanda. In this guide, we highlight some of the key activities participants can look forward to, including a wide range of training courses open to all participants, two days of conference sessions, an Innovators' Village and Investors' Fair.

What are you looking forward to at this year's African Microfinance Week? Which training sessions do you plan to participate in? What do you hope to get out of the event?

If you have participated in SAMs past, what were your favorite experiences or memories? How did the experience help you in your professional life?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. View the full agenda

Monday, 18 October - Training Sessions

Ready for Investors? A Journey Through the Process, Decision-making and Management of an Investment

This session will map the different steps of the journey to obtain financing, from the first meeting with the investor to disbursement. We will discuss the implications and consequences of an equity and/or debt investment with the help of interactive presentations by experienced legal, economic and financial trainers and speakers. 

Introduction to Inclusive and Responsible Finance

In this one-day training, SPTF and CERISE will explain what responsible inclusive finance is and why it is relevant for the long-term sustainability of financial service providers (FSPs). More specifically, SPTF and CERISE will outline what management practices are required to ensure responsible and inclusive finance and introduce some of the most important tools and resources that help FSPs to implement those practices. Participants will receive in in-depth introduction to the Universal Standards for Social and Environmental Performance Management and the SPI social audit tool.

Financial Inclusion for Refugees and Host Communities

This training session aims to demystify issues related to refugees financial inclusion. The session will inform participants of the reality of refugees needs in financial inclusion in Africa, underline the role of government policies in facilitating financial inclusion of refugees and present initiatives in financial inclusion of refugees and host communities in Africa. The morning session will be interactive with speakers from UNHCR, Kiva, Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation, Ugafode and Inkomoko. In the afternoon, a field visit in Kigali will give the opportunity to meet and discuss with refugees and host communities entrepreneurs supported by Inkomoko.  

Digital Transformation of MFIs: Challenges and Prerequisites for a Change of MIS, Implementing an Agent Network and Digitalizing Processes

  • Session 1 | 9.30am - 10.30am | Change of MIS
  • Session 2 | 11.00am - 12.00am | Agent networks and W2B B2W
  • Session 3 | 2.00pm - 3.00pm | Digitalization of processes

Microinsurance Training

This training seeks to highlight the experiences of MFIs that have evolved their inclusive insurance products, processes and institutional models to improve the value proposition for clients and their own business viability. Through an analysis of these experiences, it will guide participants to identify actions that can be taken within their own institutions to evolve and improve their insurance offering. The trainers will be from the ILO, the MIN, and the Foundation Grameen Crédit Agricole. 

Reducing Operating Costs of MFIs Across Africa by Using Modern Technology

This training session outlines how to define a complete digital transformation roadmap for MFIs with QWare, a plug-and-play, all-in-one solution that comes equipped with everything you need. QWare is a cloud-based core banking system that eliminates the expenses of on-premise hosting and infrastructure management. It is ready to integrate with APIs and adaptable to a MFI’s current structure, bringing no hidden costs and allowing any institution to grow at its own pace.

Tuesday, 19 October - Conference Day 1

Plenary Session 1 (Overview)

Impact of the pandemic on the financial inclusion sector, vulnerable populations and their progress towards the SDGs in Africa: Status, challenges and strategies of stakeholders 

Keynote 1 (Plenary)

Structural transformation and resilience building: conceptual debates, scopes of action and actors' roles - Introduction of the three dimensions of resilience for inclusive finance:

  • Structural change and building resilience of the poor and of financial institutions.
  • Digital infrastructure and building resilience: challenges and opportunities for inclusive finance
  • Building an inclusive and climate-resilient financial sector

Parallel Sessions (1)

  • Session 1: Structural changes and resilience of the inclusive finance ecosystem in Africa: which roles for which actors?
  • Session 2: Digital innovation for the resilience of inclusive finance institutions and clients in Africa: actors, strategies, cohabitation
  • Session 3: Resilience of vulnerable populations to climate change: challenges and opportunities for inclusive finance actors

Parallel Sessions (2)

  • Session 4 (workshop): MFIs and the Covid-19 crisis in Africa: survey results and lessons learned
  • Session 5 (workshop): Financing agricultural value chains for the resilience of agricultural producers: what opportunities?
  • Session 6 (workshop): Inclusive finance and green economy: What challenges for access to sustainable basic services?

Wednesday, 20 October - Conference Day 2

Plenary Session 2

  • Synthesis of Day 1 (Reporter)
  • Keynote 2 (plenary): Post-crisis reconstruction, reducing inequalities and strengthening the resilience of vulnerable women: which opportunities for inclusive finance?

Parallel Sessions 1

  • Session 7: Financing the inclusive finance sector in times of crisis: what role for investors and donors in building sector resilience?
  • Session 8: Supporting young entrepreneurs in times of crisis: risks and solutions
  • Session 9: Food systems in Africa: how to ensure their resilience?

Parallel Sessions 2

  • Session 10: Insurance to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable African populations: how to overcome the obstacles?
  • Session 11: Digitisation of the inclusive finance sector: a greater risk or resilience?  
  • Session 12: Supporting climate-smart / climate-resilient agricultural practices?

Parallel Sessions 3

  • Session 13 (Sharing experiences): Risk management, human resources and resilience of microfinance institutions: feedback
  • Session 14 (Sharing experiences): Focus on (digital) financial innovation that promotes the resilience of refugee populations
  • Session 15 (Sharing experiences): Focus on innovative green finance methodologies 

Keynote 3 (Plenary)

Address: Stakeholder guidance for inclusive finance sector resilience and achieving the SDGs in Africa: what future agenda? 

Thursday, October 21 - Innovators' Village, Investors' Fair, Training Sessions

Innovators' Village

The Innovators' Village is a key event to showcase innovative solutions that strengthen the resilience of organizations in the inclusive finance sector and populations to shocks. It is also a meeting place, creating opportunities and synergies for all actors in the sector. 

The Innovators' Village will combine the following components:

  • An opening ceremony with all SAM participants on 20 October at 17:30 in the Innovator Village area;
  • A B2B exhibition area with around 20 stands grouped by theme, open all day on Thursday, 21 October. Each stand will offer the opportunity of  personal contacts and to attend presentations and demonstrations;
  • A central presentation area to allow each innovator to demonstrate their innovative solution in the form of a 5-minute pitch, followed by a 5-minute question and answer session. This space will allow each innovator to be showcased throughout the day on 21 October. Simultaneous translation will be provided in English and French;
  • The Innovators' Directory containing the innovations of each exhibitor will be distributed to the participants of SAM 2021 in print and via the event app, and more widely through the websites and social networks;
  • A Fintech award ceremony, organised during the gala dinner on Thursday, 21 October, and hosted by the LHoFT, will reward the best Fintech.

Investors' Fair

The Investor Fair offers a unique opportunity to meet a wide variety of transparent, African MFIs and investors. It brings MFIs and the main investors in inclusive finance together to discuss business opportunities. Both investors and MFIs will be able to optimize the time and money invested in business trips. For a full day, individual tables will all be grouped together in the same space. Participants will be able to meet business partners from different countries, all with a high potential impact for their organizations.

The fair takes place for a day, mostly in the form of one-to-one meetings between investors and MFIs. The majority of these meetings are organized in advance through the SAMapp.

We Stand Together

There is no other way out of this difficult time of trial than to do it together. MAIN, Banca Etica, ADA and Caritas Africa discuss how we can move on a common path to strengthen our support to MFIs with our common commitment to microfinance to increase financial inclusion in order to reach an ever greater number of people than in the past.

- Mr. Mohamed Attanda (MAIN)
- Mrs Laura Chiesi (Cresud)
- Mr. Albert Mashika (Caritas Africa)
- Mrs Laura Foschi (Ada)
- Mr. Filippo Vettorato (Banca Etica)
- Mr Gabriele Giuglietti (moderator)

Friday, 22 October - Training Sessions

Sharing Agent Banking Infrastructure: Challenges and Opportunities

In this session, we will discuss options and mechanisms that financial institutions need to consider and address when negotiating technical, strategic and operational components of a bilateral or multilaterally shared agent banking infrastructure, with the help of real-life case studies.

Client Outcomes, Responsible Digital Finance and Green Microfinance

This is a specialized training on frontier areas of social performance management. ln this one-day training, SPTF and CERISE will provide an overview of the revised Universal Standards for Social Performance Management and then dive deeply into certain frontier areas:
a) What client outcome data is realistic and useful to collect and how to analyze it.
b) Risks and opportunities for responsible digital finance clients.
c) Responsible environmental performance management.

Presentation of a Tool for Making Financial and Social Projections for MFIs

Take control of your MFI's future. Discover Microvision, a free and easy-to-use tool for making financial and social projections of a 5-year business plan for your MFI. This workshop will familiarise you with different features of the Microvision tool: entering historical data, making strategic assumptions, developing scenarios and finally letting your figures talk!

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