A Life of Unnecessary Exclusion


The often referenced Portfolios of the Poor – How the World’s Poor Lives on $2 A Day illustrates the impact of financial exclusion by detailing the complex financial lives of the world’s poor. The book shows that despite a lack of access to formal financial systems, people living in poverty not only find ways to save, they create complex systems of financial management in order to make ends meet.

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Make it Personal – How Client-Centred Services Can Have Impact



A woman in Kenya uses her mobile phone


Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 60 percent of the world’s uncultivated arable land. Despite the potential, Africa’s farms produce, on average, much less per hectare than farms in many other countries.  As a result, more than 200 million individuals, almost two thirds of the entire U.S. population, are chronically undernourished.  And, as we have seen, the majority of those affected are living in rural areas where the small farm is their livelihood.

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Focusing on Clients to Move the Needle on Financial Inclusion


The drive to universal financial inclusion took a big step forward in 2015. The World Bank’s Global Findex report told us that the number of people in the world without access to any form of financial services had fallen by 20 percent in the past three years, to two billion. That is still a large number of poor people looking to benefit from the financial products and services that people in wealthier countries take for granted, but it shows that efforts to advance financial inclusion are paying off.

At The MasterCard Foundation, we believe that a key element in enabling more poor people to be financially included is for financial service providers to truly understand the needs and desires of the economically disadvantaged. More than designing products and services that they hope might appeal to every segment of the population, banks and other financial institutions could expand their client base by developing products and services that they know will be of use to poor people.

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Home stretch to the Symposium


A 2013 The MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion - Sumaiya Sajjadmonth from today, over 300 leaders advancing financial inclusion globally will come together in Cape Town. On their minds will be one thing–how can we, as providers, donors, academics, consultants, and support organizations, ensure that poor, excluded clients have access to and use financial services that enable them to improve their lives.

The two-day MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion is all about delivering client value. In an earlier blog post, we spoke about the first day of the Symposium. On the second day, we’ll ask the difficult questions that keep us up at night: Read MoreHome stretch to the Symposium

Two months and counting

2014 Boulder Audience
With less than two months remaining before the opening session of The MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion, interest and excitement is building daily. Registration for SoFI2015 closed early after a very positive response from those who were invited.

We’re expecting 325 people to participate in SoFI2015 and the various side-events that occur around it in the days before and after. Attendees represent at least 52 countries. This makes the Symposium once again a truly global affair where top practitioners and experts come together to share their experiences in using client centricity to broaden and deepen access to financial products and services for poor people in developing countries.

The agenda will examine this issue from many angles, with a solid lineup of speakers to deliver what the SoFI audience is looking for.

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Ann Miles: “Access to Financial Services in Africa Can Transform Lives”


This interview with Ann Miles, Director of Financial Inclusion at The MasterCard Foundation, was conducted by Rahim Kanani and originally published on Trust.org

“Greater financial inclusion is correlated with higher living standards, better health outcomes, higher education levels, and an overall improvement in well-being,” explained Ann Miles, Director of Financial Inclusion at The MasterCard Foundation. In an interview tied to the second annual MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion, we discussed the foundation’s approach to financial inclusion, their efforts and impact on the ground thus far, what it means to put clients at the center, and much more.

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Day Three Wrap-Up


#SoFI2014 has just ended on a great note.  Thanks again to all speakers, attendees, staff, and volunteers for working together and making this such a memorable event!

Our morning began with a highly entertaining presentation from Jason Young and Tracy Moore of MindBlown Labs, a company that has worked on creating fun, experiential learning tools.

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Day Two Wrap-Up


Day two of #SoFI2014 has just finished and once again, there’s a lot to report from the day’s keynotes, panels and, of course, practical, hands-on workshops.

The Foundation’s own Ann Miles and Iqbal Nadir of MIT announced the launch of a new competition to encourage innovative practices that encourage further customer-centricity in the world of financial inclusion.

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