ARCHIVE: The MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion Drives Focus on Human-Centered Design to Enable 2.5 Billion Poor People to Access Financial Services

Clients at the Center is the theme of second annual global Symposium, presented in partnership with Boulder Institute of Microfinance

TURIN, ITALY, July 16, 2014 — The MasterCard Foundation today kicked off its second annual Symposium on Financial Inclusion, focused on giving poor people in developing countries greater access to financial systems by leveraging the latest techniques in human-centered design. The aim is to encourage financial service providers to develop the most appropriate services and products that respond to the needs of the 2.5 billion people excluded from formal financial systems. Scaling up access to those systems has been recognized as a key element in global poverty reduction.

Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation, said “Financial inclusion for the world’s poor is essential to economic growth and poverty reduction. Large numbers of people across the developing world need and want access to modern financial products and services that work for them. This Symposium is promoting the innovation, learning, and sharing of experience that will spur more inclusive financial systems.”

The Symposium, presented in partnership with the Boulder Institute of Microfinance, brings together almost 300 people, primarily financial industry practitioners from banks and microfinance institutions, as well as officials from telecommunications firms, development agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Robert Christen, President of the Boulder Institute of Microfinance, feels that “the Symposium is an opportunity to concentrate the folks who care most and are working hardest towards moving the field towards a deeper understanding of clients, and incorporating that understanding into their work.”

The MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion features keynote remarks from Leslie Witt of the design firm IDEO, early leaders in human-centered design projects, and Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman and Founder of Econet Wireless.

Panel discussions and workshop sessions will provide participants with practical tools for developing financial inclusion products and services. They will highlight prominent figures in the sector such as Ravi Chhatpar, Co-Founder and Principal of Dalberg’s Design Impact Group (DIG), Dolores M. Torres, President and Chief Executive Office of CARD Bank Inc. in the Philippines, and Kamal Quadir, Chief Executive Officer of bKash in Bangladesh.

Throughout the three days, those attending will explore how financial services providers in developing countries can better serve the needs of the poorest clients while also growing their business. The Symposium will also highlight announcements about two new challenge prizes designed to stimulate and recognize innovation in products or services that advance financial inclusion.

About The MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion

The MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion is sponsored by The MasterCard Foundation and presented in partnership with the Boulder Institute of Microfinance. The event is being held in Turin, Italy from July 16-18, 2014. Those interested can follow @MCFoundation or #SoFI2014. Presentations and other event content will be posted on the Symposium website:

About The MasterCard Foundation 

The MasterCard Foundation is an independent, global organization based in Toronto, Canada, with approximately $9 billion in assets. Through collaboration with partner organizations in 46 countries, it is creating opportunities for all people to learn and prosper. The Foundation’s programs promote financial inclusion and advance youth learning, mostly in Africa. Established in 2006 through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide when it became a public company, the Foundation is separate and independent from the company. Its policies, operations and funding decisions are determined by its own Foundation Board of Directors and President and CEO. For more information, please visit

About The Boulder Institute of Microfinance

Boulder Institute: Working for 20 Years towards Sustainable Microfinance

The Boulder Institute of Microfinance is a non-profit organization dedicated for the past 20 years to broadening financial inclusion systems through sustainable microfinance training programs. The programs are tailored to training senior and mid-level professionals from an array of institutions that provide microfinance services as a way to fight poverty. Among the organizations we serve are microfinance institutions, commercial banks, cooperatives, central banks, ministries of finance, development organizations, donor agencies, investors, and support organizations. Our signature program, the annual Microfinance Training Program (MFT), offers trainings in three languages – English, Spanish and French – to both experienced professionals and those just entering the field in order to provide them with the knowledge, skills, and tools required to help their institutions manage risk, achieve sustainability, and serve those customers who are most in need. For more information, please visit


For more information, please contact:

Roger Morier

Office: +1-647-837-5290

Mobile: +1-416-616-1864

[email protected]


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