Back to the Highlights of the SAM 2023 Conference

Driving Positive Change in the World of Finance.

What a week in Togo! What a great SAM 2023!

Cerise+SPTF was delighted to be part of the African Microfinance Week (SAM) hosted by ADA from 16-20 October 2023, in Lomé. As two leading global organizations dedicated to social and environmental performance management, we wouldn't have missed the SAM for anything in the world! Our team members took part in several events and panel discussions and delivered training sessions for almost 300 people. Back to the highlights.

Inauguration Ceremony

The SAM 2023 Conference was inaugurated on Tuesday, October 17, by Mr. Franz Fayot, Luxembourg's Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs and Minister of the Economy, and the esteemed Prime Minister of Togo, Victoire Tomegah Dogbé. Mr. Fayot emphasized Luxembourg's dedication to microfinance, as well as the support of the Luxembourg government for the development and implementation of global standards for social and environmental performance management and evaluation. Indeed, Cerise+SPTF collaborates with the Luxembourg government in supporting a wide cross-section of stakeholders from all over the world with the tools they need to achieve their social and environmental strategies.

Introduction to Responsible and Inclusive Finance

On Monday, October 16, Amelia Greenberg, SPTF Deputy Director, with CĂ©ciliane Mananjara, Inclusive Finance Project Officer at Cerise, delivered a comprehensive full-day training session to approximately 150 people, titled “Introduction to Responsible and Inclusive Finance”, packed with insights, tools, case studies, and concrete applications. This training showcased how responsible and inclusive management practices by financial service providers (FSPs) contribute to improved financial performance. In contrast, failure to protect customers and the environment from harm threatens sustainability.

The training introduced the Universal Standards for Social and Environmental Performance Management ("Universal Standards", learn more here), which is a comprehensive set of management practices for FSPs to implement to mitigate customer protection risks and offer products that create benefits for customers. The training also introduced SPI Online assessment tools and resource center, which help FSPs assess their current level of practice and learn how to address their weaknesses.

We received some nice feedback from the participants! See below and click on the button to get the training presentation and related resources.

“Workshop was worthy attending and an eye opener.”

“Cet Ă©vĂ©nement nous assure un avenir radieux basĂ© sur un dĂ©veloppement durable en plaçant l'ĂȘtre humain au centre Ă  travers une inclusion participative et non discriminative.”

“C'Ă©tait une formation importante vu que dans notre pays Burundi le taux d'inclusion financiĂšre est encore trĂšs bas. J'espĂšre qu'avec les connaissances acquises, il y aura des changements dans l'entreprise que je dirige.”

“Contenu digeste et trĂšs instructif. BĂ©nĂ©fique pour les institutions qui comptent s'inscrire dans une dĂ©marche de protection des clients.”

Focus on Client-level Outcomes

On Wednesday, October 18, Amelia Greenberg moderated a session titled, “Transparency and impact: measuring the real effect of sustainable inclusive finance to avoid greenwashing”. Along with Ms. Greenberg, panelists Yves Zawadi (UNCDF), Natalia REALPE CARRILLO (HEDERA), and Janet KUTELI (Fortune Credit) discussed the importance of assessing clients' challenges related to resilience to climate change, as well as opportunities for green products to improve clients' quality of life. Panelists emphasized the value in measuring outcomes once clients begin using green products, in order both to create benefits for customers and to ensure the financial sustainability of these products.

Raising Awareness on Client Protection and Responsible Digital Financial Services

SPTF Europe Executive Director Jurgen Hammer and Anne-Laure Behagel, Client Protection Pathway Director, took part as mentors to the program Catapult: Inclusion Africa from the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology supporting a great batch of Fintech companies building innovative products and services transforming financial services in Africa. Anne Laure Behaghel also provided a 2-hour training session to the 15 Catapult Fintechs on “Client Protection for Responsible Digital Financial Services“.

On Thursday, October 19, Anne-Laure Behaghel, led a 3-hour session in French and English on the Client Protection Pathway (learn more here) that gathered around 100 participants, including 90% representatives of financial service providers in Africa. During this session, Anne-Laure raised awareness on the various steps of the CP Pathway and how it could support the improvements of FSP in their client protection practices.

Simultaneously on Thursday, during the Investor Fair, Jurgen Hammer and Anne-Laure Behaghel hosted a working group session exclusively tailored for impact investors, titled “Elevating impact investing with Cerise+SPTF: prioritizing client protection and uniting impact investors”. This working group meeting welcomed 15 impact investors both from headquarters and African regional offices. The session covered three topics: (1) the Client Protection Standards and Pathway, and practical steps for investors to implement client protection in the investment process; (2) the MANSA Due Diligence data platform, developed by Afreximbank, a promising solution for better efficiency in CDC (Client Due Diligence) and KYC (Know your Customer) for investors in FSPs for Africa; and (3) update on the pilot for Responsible Digital Financial Services (DFS) > Learn more and join our next webinar on December 14

Evaluating and Improving Environmental Performance

On Thursday also, Snezana Jovic, Head of Inclusive Finance at Cerise led a comprehensive session titled “Evaluating and Improving Environmental Performance”, together with EugĂ©nie Constancias, head of SEPM for Entrepreneurs du Monde, and Natalia Realpe Carillo, co-founder and CEO of Hedera. Developed with the cooperation of Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation, the event gathered more than 50 participants who were able to delve into the intricacies of evaluating and managing environmental performance. This session was thoughtfully complemented by a half-day field visit on Friday, offering an invaluable glimpse into the vital work carried out by AssilassimĂ© SolidaritĂ© and its partners Miawodo and Mivo Energie, particularly in access to energy and waste management.

“Un grand merci Ă  Entrepreneurs du Monde, Ă  la Fondation Grameen CrĂ©dit Agricole, Ă  Miawodo et Ă  AssilassimĂ© pour avoir organisĂ© des visites de sites le dernier jour de la SAM, afin de partager la maniĂšre dont AssilassimĂ© et ses clients d’engagement dans la gestion de la performance environnementale par le biais du recyclage, de l’énergie solaire et des pesticides biologiques et d’autres initiatives.” - Amelia Greenberg

It's been an extraordinary journey at SAM 2023, and we're excited to continue driving positive change in the world of finance.

Thank you, ADA and co-hosts! See you next year!

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