Virtual European Microfinance Week 2020 Wraps Up - Taking Stock of the Impact of 2020 and Discussing How to 'Build Back Better'

European Microfinance Week (#EMW2020), for the first time entirely online, concluded Friday with a fireside-style conversation on the implications of the events of 2020 for the future of financial inclusion.

Dina Pons from Incofin Investment Management and Claudio González-Vega of Ohio State University and the BBVA Microfinance Foundation argued that 2020 has revealed several key trends, risks and opportunities – from the outsized impact that smaller MFIs will face from liquidity challenges to staff retrenchment, to the clear acceleration of digitalization and more active intervention – including populist measures – by governments in financial inclusion. This was followed by closing words to end EMW2020 by e-MFP’s chairwoman Laura Hemrika, who summarized some of the major takeaways from the many debates, presentations and discussions over the conference: among them the enduring uncertainty over the impact of the COVID crisis on clients; the emerging need to overcome the challenges of providing TA and conducting research in this new context; the continued and clear desire for new linkages between stakeholders that for too long have remained siloed; the particular importance of savings to increase client resilience; and the welcomingly nuanced debate over how digitization can be made to work for the benefit of everyone.

Ms. Hemrika closed EMW2020 on Friday by praising a "fantastic conference – digital, even more diverse, inclusive and interactive and yet also more personal in some ways".