It was recently announced that this year’s Sibos closing plenary address (Thursday 2 October, 2014) will be given by Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Over the past couple of years, the SWIFT Institute, the driving force behind Sibos University, has developed a working relationship with the Gates Foundation around financial inclusion for the poor; a recurring topic on the Sibos conference agenda.
Gates will provide his insights on the foundation’s work to bring financial services to the poor, and highlight how digital financial services and partnerships can provide opportunities for financial institutions to sustainably serve people in the developing world.
Globally, more than 2.5 billion adults do not have a formal bank account, most of them in developing economies. While account penetration is nearly universal in high-income economies, with 89 percent of adults reporting that they have an account at a formal financial institution, the same holds true for merely 41 percent in developing economies.
It is generally accepted that there is a positive relationship between financial development and economic growth, and poverty alleviation. The challenge lies in bridging the gap between the unbanked and the services banks offer.
In the Big Issue Debate on Thursday, 2 October, ‘Big Banks & Small Savers’, a panel of commercial bankers from developing nations will examine how banks can use their access to capital markets, advanced technology and delivery systems, and public oversight, to sustainably offer a secure means for the poor to accumulate wealth, thereby bringing greater economic security and social inclusion. The results of the Gateway to Financial Innovations for Savings (GAFIS) project, funded by the Gates Foundation, will be presented.