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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to participate in the SWIFT African Regional Conference

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to participate in the SWIFT African Regional Conference

Regional Conference,
27 April 2016

Gates Foundation to join SWIFT in Mauritius to discuss how digital financial services and technologies can promote financial inclusion in Africa

Johannesburg, 27 April 2016 – 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. The Foundation will also join the African Regional Conference (ARC) and participate in the Opening Plenary looking at the Megatrends affecting Africa.

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. This 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.
Mr Lubinski will join a panel of distinguished speakers for the Megratrends discussion. Terence McNamee, Deputy Director of The Brenthurst Foundation, is an author of numerous publications including a study on Chinese small business in southern Africa and ‘War without consequences’, and has previously served as an advisor to governments, including that of Malawi; Regina Agyare, CEO of Soronko Solutions, is a ‘Global Shaper’ in the World Economic Forum, one of CNN Africa’s 12 most inspirational women and part of the Africa Leadership Initiative, West Africa; and Alain Raes, is Chief Executive EMEA and Asia Pacific for SWIFT.

Other confirmed speakers include:

  • Eric Osiakwan, Tech Entrepreneur and Angel Investor
  • Chris Hamilton, CEO, Bankserv Africa
  • Tim Masela, Head  of National Payment System Department, South African Reserve Bank
  • Sunil Benimadhu, Chief Executive, The Stock Exchange of Mauritius
  • Alemu ASFAW , CEO, Dashen Bank, Ethiopia
  • Sanjeev Jayram , Head of Corporate Actions, Rand Merchant Bank
  • Vipin Mahabirsingh, Managing Director, Central Depository & Settlement Co, Mauritius
  • Iann Seymour-Smith , Head of Operations, Strate
  • Gerrie Butler, Head of eSolutions within RMB Corporate Transactional banking
  • Fidelis Muia, Director of Technical Services, Kenya Bankers Association
  • Jay Rosengard, Director of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government's Financial Sector Program, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Willem Kruger, Head Compliance and Regulatory Product, Nedbank

ARC 2016 will take place in Balaclava on 17-19 May 2016. For the full agenda, please see here.

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