Confirmed Agenda Sessions 2018

Sanabel's 2018 Conference


Confirmed Agenda Sessions


Session Track 1: Sharing the lessons learned of responsible finance initiatives

  • Responsible Finance: Experiences To-Date and the Way Forward

This session will provide a brief overview of responsible finance, focusing in on the Smart Campaign’s client protection principles. It will present experiences of MFIs that have begun their journey towards certification including some of the major changes that they have had to make within their institutions and the learnings that have resulted from this process. It will also shed light on why MFIs should pursue the certification even in environments where investors and donors are still not requesting it.

Session Track 2: Enabling the microfinance environment for responsible finance through identifying the role of stakeholders

  • The Corporate Governance of Microfinance Institutions

As a sector dominated by not-for-profit companies and NGOs, the vast majority of MFI Boards in the region are voluntary. This less formalized governance structure can at times, be an obstacle to more strategic management and oversight of the MFI and requires a robust system in place to ensure the Board of Directors is able to effectively play its governance role.

This session will discuss the ways in which MFIs can and have improved their corporate governance practices, the most important challenges faced by MFI management and Boards in managing their governance as well as the role regulators can play in ensuring sound corporate governance practices across the sector.

Session Track 3: Integrating sustainable and responsible practices to achieve effectively financial inclusion and overcome risks


  • Managing successful MFI transformations: the impact of ownership structure on performance and governance

As regulations is changing in the MENA region allowing new players & new ownership structures the MFIs undergo these transformations are becoming increasingly common in MENA, and as more institutions begin the process it is imperative that their senior management and governance bodies are structured and prepared for the institutional change. The focus of the session is on the process by which a credit-focused NGO or single-owner MFI creates or becomes a for-profit, share-capital company with multiple shareholders. This session will discuss the commonly-encountered challenges and resolutions that MFIs with a single owner can expect to encounter along the road to a successful transformation.

 Session Track 4: Unleashing the power of innovations in advancing responsible finance


  • Responsible Agrifinance

New actors in agricultural finance are changing the potential to engage with and evaluate agricultural producers, and responsibly provide finance to them. The panel will discuss new businesses and business models being pursued, that microfinance practitioners may leverage upon to improve their ability to safely and profitably lend to the agricultural sector.

Both established businesses and fintechs are developing and offering new data collection channels that are changing the potential for financial service businesses, like microfinance providers, to better understand and evaluate agricultural businesses. The panel will discuss the opportunities this presents, but will cover how additional data on agricultural producers ultimately facilitates responsible finance by fundamentally allowing an accurate analysis of clients.

  • Balancing Power and Risks of Technology for Microfinance

Technology offers unforeseen possibilities to advance financial inclusion, yet is expensive, complex and requires considerable investment into technical know-how and appliances. In order for MFIs to leverage on new technologies in a responsible way that helps them to increase their outreach to the low-income population while protecting putting the interests and privacy of their low-income clients first, MFIs need to get to terms with important issues like data safety and client protection.

Raise awareness and facilitate discussion about need for technical expertise and responsible use of technology to mitigate inherent risks, such as over-lending, over-indebting clients, mission drift/competition by commercially oriented players, etc. The session will showcase best practice examples and provide guidance for MFI practitioners on how to approach technological inventions.

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