Day One #SoFI2015


“A lot of the time people talk about inclusion. But if we are going to make an impact in Africa it has to be at a large scale.”

Bolaji Akinboro and Ken Njoroge of Cellulant, opened the third MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion with a story. The story of how they established Cellulant and developed an e-wallet system that delivers electronic vouchers directly to farmers for agricultural inputs in Nigeria allowing them to increase their farm production and livelihoods. They have managed to scale their operation, reaching nine million clients to date with the system.

Cellulant’s keynote followed welcome addresses from MasterCard Foundation President and CEO, Reeta Roy and Co-Founder and President of The Boulder Institute of Microfinance, Robert Christen. Both stressed the need for organizations to really empathize with clients, “Now more than ever, now is the time to ensure we put Clients at the Center”, Reeta Roy said.

Day one featured a panel session on Client-Centred Leadership and Organizational Culture that was broadcast live on CNBC Africa. Moderated by CNBC’s Gugulethu Cele, and featuring Doug BaillieLelemba Phiri and Ramesh Ramanathan. It also included a session on The Customer Experience, led by CGAP’s Gerhard Coetzee and featuring Jennifer BarassaCoenraad JonkerMarème Sène and Robert Fabricant. The session touched on leadership, market segmentation, and the importance of reliable systems and agent training in serving the customer.

Robert Fabricant of the Dahlberg Design Impact Group discussed the fundamentals of the customer experience and asked the sector to look beyond the retention and acquisition to define business value.

In the afternoon keynote, Ignacio Mas of the Digital Frontiers Institute argued that money management, not just instant payments, should be at the centre of digital finance propositions. In this session Ignacio challenged the sector to rethink how they see digital payments.

“The question is not why accounts are empty, the question is why we thought they were going to be full in the first place”, he said.

In the last session of day one, after compelling pitches from Teshome Dayesso from Buusaa Gonofaa Microfinance, Mathilda Strom of BIMA and Frederik Eijkman of Pesatransact, the audience voted on the winner of the first MasterCard Foundation Clients at the Centre Prize. BIMA emerged as the financial service organization that best exemplified client-centric practices. Congratulations to BIMA and all our finalists.

Find us at @MCFoundation or #SoFI2015 to follow the conversation on day two of the Symposium.

Jamie Farshchi
Editor, Communications

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