Confirmed Agenda Sessions 2022

Sanabel 2022 Conference


22-23 November 2022


Reality and the Future of Financial Inclusion in

The Arab World

  • Green Microfinance in the MENA Region: Findings and ways forward

The session will present the results of the survey on Green Microfinance conducted by HEDERA Sustainable Solutions, financed by the SANAD Fund for MSMEs’ Technical Assistance Facility, combined with further analysis based on the broader context and interviews undertaken with microfinance stakeholders. The speakers will shed light on the status of green microfinance across the MENA region, with regards to the existing initiatives and practices pursued by microfinance institutions, and their future strategies to enhance the climate resilience of end beneficiaries. The session will provide a better understanding of the sector’s current level of development, MFIs’ green microfinance needs, and the extent to which MFIs are aware of or complying with local and international standards and regulations and explore the opportunities for extending green microfinance services.

  • Empowering MSMEs for financial inclusion and growth and overcoming the challenges; the role of the microfinance sector

Enabling access to financial services for MSMEs is crucial to allow them to scale up their activities, foster inclusive economic growth, and create employment opportunities, which is especially true in rural and underserved regions. Based on findings of the Financial Inclusion Compass 2022, one of the top five challenges facing MSMEs is Financial Literacy globally, and regionally for entrepreneurs in the Arab world, in particular when it comes to women and youth. The session presents the main results of the demand assessment results conducted by Sparkassenstiftung Jordan, mainly related to the financial literacy component and its implications on financial inclusion. Building the financial knowledge of entrepreneurs will enable them to scale up their business activities and improve outcomes that would lead to job creation and improved resilience. Moreover, applying FinTech solutions and applications will enable MSMEs to enhance their efficiency and profitability, leading to improved creditability and better access to funds. The discussion will lead us to discover how can the microfinance sector and other stakeholders support MSMEs in the Arab world in the process of acquiring a higher level of financial literacy and overcoming a major challenge for advancing financial inclusion in the region?

  • Progressing or Regressing: What Findex 2021 Data Tells Us about the State of Financial Inclusion in the Arab World

Although the average rate of account ownership in developing economies has increased from 63% to 71% since 2017, this is not true for many of the countries in the Arab World with Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and Tunisia witnessing a decrease in account ownership as per the 2021 Global Findex Data. This session will provide an overview of the latest financial inclusion data for the Arab World and will assess how and why the region stands where it does today. It will also discuss the role financial service providers should be playing to continue to promote financial inclusion and access to financial services in the region going forward.


  • Springing Back: COVID-19 and the Journey to Digital Transformation

Digital transformation has been a growing interest among MFIs across the globe for several years. The rapid spread of technology accelerated by the pandemic has led to a pressing need for financial institutions to adapt. The pandemic has pushed financial institutions to an inflection point where embracing technology became a necessity. This session will present the preliminary findings of an IFC study on MFI digitization efforts in the region, explore how the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a wave of digital transformations and showcase examples of how the microfinance industry has reacted globally and in the MENA region. It will also present the benefits MFIs who embraced technology were able to reap during this difficult time as well as the challenges they faced along the way.

  • Sanabel Network: A point in time; twenty years and counting

This session offers a candid discussion with some of the regional pioneers in the microfinance sector in the Arab region. Moderated to reflect on the idea of Sanabel; its initial expectations, actual achievements & milestones and ongoing challenges over the past two decades from the perspective of its members. This discussion then moves on to envision what the future holds for the sector and the region in light of the evolving landscape. The discussion will aim to answer questions regarding the traditional versus the nontraditional, the missed opportunities, the potential the future holds as we celebrate together past, present and future.

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