Gates Foundation to collaborate with SWIFT on financial inclusion in Africa

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will join the first meeting of the SWIFT African Advisory Group (AAG) to look at areas for collaboration on delivering financial services to Africa’s unbanked population.

According to McKinsey, 2.5 billion of the world’s adults don’t use formal banks or semiformal microfinance institutions to save or borrow money. Nearly 2.2 billion of these unserved adults live in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

David Lubinski, Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Financial Services for the Poor program, will discuss the Foundation’s work around financial inclusion with the AAG on Monday 16th May. He will speak specifically about how the program is working to expand financial inclusion through applying digital financial services and technologies to millions of people who currently lack access to formal financial services in Africa.

The Financial Services for the Poor program aims to help people in the world’s poorest regions improve their lives and build sustainable futures by connecting them with digitally-based financial tools and services.

The AAG comprises key players from Africa’s financial industry. The meeting will therefore provide the ideal opportunity for these leading executives to discuss ideas about driving financial inclusion across the continent.

Mr Lubinski will join the opening plenary of SWIFT’s African Regional Conference to discuss the Megatrends that are expected to shape the future of the continent over the next decade. These include the rise of the middle class; technological transformation; public debt and shifts in economic power; climate change and resource stress; rapid urbanisation and economic interconnectedness.

“We are delighted that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will join us for the Africa Advisory Group and African Regional Conference this year,” said Sido Bestani, Head of Middle East, Turkey & Africa, SWIFT.

“Financial inclusion is one of the most acute challenges facing this continent. With its population expected to double within the next 35 years, tackling financial exclusion is absolutely critical in helping Africa’s poorest,” Bestani added.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will also join the African Regional Conference (ARC) and participate in the Opening Plenary looking at the Megatrends affecting Africa.