Conference Finance for Refugees; making it work

Friday 7 September 2018, in COMM, the museum for communication in The Hague.

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Breakout Sessions


Moderator: Ms. Margje Fikse, Host Dutch Radio and Reporter Dutch TV

9.15 – 10.00 Registration

Plenary session Setting the stage, current situation:
10.00 – 10.05 Welcome – Ms. Josien Sluijs, Director NpM
10.05 – 10.35 Kick off & stage-setting documentary - Ms. Amy Guttman, Special Correspondent and Journalist PBS Newshour & BBC
10.35 – 10.50 Opening speech - Mr. Hans Docter, Director Sustainable Economic Development at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands
10.50 – 11.40 Panel discussion with CEOs:
  • Mr. Jimmy Adiga, CEO BRAC Microfinance, Uganda
  • Mr. Yengi Lokule, CEO RUFI, South Sudan
  • Ms. Muna Sukhtian, CEO Microfinance Fund for Women, Jordan
  • Mr. Youssef Fawaz, CEO Al Majmoua, Lebanon
11.40 – 11.50 Working towards structural solutions for Syrian refugees – Mr. Nadim Karkutli, Manager EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis (the 'Madad Fund', European Commission)
11.50 – 12.00 Global financial inclusion, a joint effort – Mr. Joscha Albert, GIZ, member of the Temporary Steering Committee of the GPFI

12.00 – 13.15 Lunch

Breakout sessions Deep dive
13.15 – 14.30
  1. Overview of Financial services for Refugees: which organisations are doing what, and how to link towards achieving financial inclusion? – Lene Hansen (independent expert), KIVA, Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation, European Commission, KOIS
  2. Using technology to mainstream access to finance for refugees – Triple Jump, Oxfam Novib, WFP, UNCDF, Beyonic
  3. Refugee finance in the Middle East – a risky business? – Triodos Investment Management, Microfund for Women, Al Majmoua, UNRWA
  4. How to strengthen the role of financial service providers in their response to refugees’ needs: a case study from Uganda - ICCO, FSPs from Uganda and investors
  5. Structuring Finance solutions towards ‘Reducing Inequalities (SDG 10) and investor’s perspective’ – FMO, EIB

14.30 – 14.50 Coffee and Tea break

Plenary session The way forward
14.50 – 15.10 Key messages from Breakout Sessions
15.10 – 15.30 Innovative solutions for refugees - Mr. Bernhard Kowatsch, Head of Innovation Accelerator of World Food Programme
15.30 – 15.55 Pitch Session: start-ups present
‘Innovative solutions to promote Financial Services for Refugees':
  • Taqanu – Mr. Balázs Némethi CEO Digital Identity Solution
  • Disberse – Mr. Ben Joakim, CEO Humanitarian Fund Management Platform
  • Beyonic – Mr. Dan Kleinbaum, Co-Founder Digital Financial Service Solution and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at DFS Lab
  • Leaf Global Fintech – Mr. Nat Robinson and Ms. Tori Samples, Co-Founders Digital Savings Platform facilitating cash to virtual currency conversion
15.55 – 16.10 Platform for Economic Migration and Forced Displacement; Joint effort of Multilateral Development Banks - Ms. Flavia Palanza, Director EU Neighborhood Countries European Investment Bank
16.10 – 16.25 Reflection and next steps - Ms. Patricia Atkinson, Head of programmes IKEA Foundation
16.25 – 16.30 Closing remarks - Ms. Josien Sluijs, Director NpM

16.30 – 17.30 Drinks & Networking

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Breakout Sessions

In order to provide a space to dive deeper into the topic of finance for refugees, we will split into break out session. After lunch, five sessions will run in parallel each covering paramount topics when tackling the issue of finance for refugees.

Each of the sessions will be moderated by a member of NpM.
  1. Overview of Financial services for Refugees: which organisations are doing what, and how to link towards achieving financial inclusion?
    Moderated by: Ms. Resi Janssen (Cordaid)
    Speakers/panellists: Ms. Lene M.P. Hansen (independent expert), Mr. Lev Plaves (Kiva), Mr. Philippe Guichandut (Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation), Mr. Nadim Karkutli (European Commission), Ms. Béatrice Delperdange (KOIS)
    Everything you always wanted to know: economic activities, phased financial needs, products, restrictions, initiatives, innovative solutions, impact on refugees and host communities
  2. Using technology to mainstream access to finance for refugees
    Moderated by: Ms. Gera Voorrips (Triple Jump)
    Speakers/panellists: Mr. Bernhard Kowatsch (WFP), Ms. Niña Espinola (Oxfam Novib), Mr. Francois Coupienne (UNCDF), Dan Kleinbaum (Beyonic)
    The panel provides successful examples of the use of technology to deliver payments to refugees and IDPs. This covers the various categories ranging from CTAs, remittances, domestic money transfers to microloans. The session will show both the lessons learnt on the ground and the promising directions.
  3. Refugee finance in the Middle East – a risky business?
    Moderated by: Ms. Fadoua Boudiba (Triodos Investment Management)
    Speakers/panellists: Ms. Bdour Alhyari (Microfund for Women), Ms. Alia Farhat (Al Majmoua), Ms. Jane Giacaman (UNRWA)
    Microfinance leaders from Jordan and Lebanon share their experiences, challenges and drive to provide financial services to refugees, and discuss what is needed to scale up.
  4. How to strengthen the role of financial service providers in their response to refugees’ needs: a case study from Uganda
    Moderated by: Ms. Mariel Mensink (ICCO Terrafina Microfinance)
    Speakers/panellists: Mr. Yengi Lokule (Rural Finance Initiative), Mr. Jimmy Adiga (BRAC Microfinance), Mr. Shafi Nambobi (UGAFODE Microfinance Ltd), Ms. Karen Birungi (Centenary Bank), Mr. Caspar Sprokel (Triodos Investment Management), Mr. Jarri Jung (Triple Jump), Mr. Hans Heijs (ICCO), Ms. Petra Hamers (Oxfam Novib)
    With over 1 million refugees, Uganda is one of the largest refugee hosting countries in the world. Unlike in most other countries, refugees are allowed to access education, find employment and start their own businesses. This offers interesting opportunities for financial services providers (FSPs) who have started to develop products (credit, savings, payments/remittance, insurance) and services (non-financial services e.g. client training / BDS, financial education) for the refugee market. This session will discuss the opportunities and challenges faced by FSPs, and will present the outcomes and conclusion of a recently conducted diagnostics study in Uganda.
  5. Structuring Finance solutions towards ‘Reducing Inequalities (SDG 10) and investor’s perspective’
    Moderated by: Ms. Una Clifford (European Investment Bank)
    Speakers: Ms. Erica van Eeghen (FMO) and Ms. Corianne van Veen (FMO)
    What are possible funding structures to make Refugee Finance part of the broader Financial Inclusion agenda? What criteria should be in place to make refugee financing a sustainable business case? What are creative and tailor made solutions, e.g. the role of guarantees? What kind of partnerships are required for implementation? How can DFIs and (NB)FIs play a role in making this work?

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With over 65 million forcibly displaced people, of which almost 21.3 million refugees, the migrant crisis to date is one of the most urgent and compelling realities affecting the world. Conflict continues in several countries in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, which makes it unclear when refugees will be able to return safely to their homes, with some refugees already having been in their host countries for over 10 years. Most refugees have little to no opportunities to enter the economic system due to a lack of available financial services and thus, despite protracted displacement and residence in host countries, are unable to integrate into the economy and society. To bring this to light and work on solutions, NpM, Platform for Inclusive Finance, wants to improve capacity for providing financial services to refugees and decided to do its annual conference on the topic of ‘Finance for Refugees’.

Offering financial services to refugees is often assumed as too risky. Therefore, there are only a few Financial Service Providers (FSPs) that provide financial services to this target group. Several initiatives have been initiated by the donor community and we would now like to encourage involvement of the private sector to scale-up initiatives, unlock private capital and mainstream access to financial services for refugees. Emerging evidence suggests that serving refugee clients is potentially profitable in the medium-term as continuous progress in technology reduce costs and increase outreach.

The Dutch Financial Inclusion sector is known for their thought leadership when it comes to current and important topics to reach financial inclusion. The social orientation of the NpM investors and commitment towards cooperation with other stakeholders, is key in leveraging efforts to reach scale and to unlock private capital.

Objectives The main objective of the conference is to bring together the donor and the investor community and provide them a platform to discuss this critical issue and work towards sustainable solutions for refugees.

The conference has 4 main objectives:
- Demonstrating a sense of urgency for private sector to invest: The refugee crisis has created the largest need for humanitarian aid (almost $23.1 billion). To lower the financial burden for donor organisations and host countries, private sector investments are needed. Many refugees stay for over 10 years in the host countries and are facing integration issues. Often because they cannot participate in formal economic systems, a.o. due to a lack of access to financial services.
- Knowledge and expertise exchange: Still limited expertise and knowledge on suitable customer-oriented financial services for refugees is available. Therefore, it is crucial to share experience and combine lessons learned from the donor community and private sector. The magnitude of the crisis requires solutions to be scaled and mainstreamed at a rapid pace.
- Share results of NpM activities on ‘Finance for Refugees’: During the conference we will share (1) a publication presenting an overview of the global activities/context in terms of providing financial services to refugees, (2) results of a 2-day session that brings together the MFIs in Jordan to ascertain their needs with respect to engaging refugees as clients, and (3) the results of an initial diagnostic research in Uganda to create an information base for an effective Technical Assistance programme in the country for the financial inclusion of refugees.
- Networking: The conference will provide a place for networking and forming crucial connections to enable partnerships and/or initiatives.

Guests at the conference will be (Dutch) investors, international donor organizations, governmental organizations, Civil Society Organizations, development banks, local financial service providers, and knowledge institutes.

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The conference “Finance for Refugees; making it work” will take place in COMM, the Museum of Communication in The Hague

COMM Museum voor Communicatie
Zeestraat 82
2518 AD Den Haag

How to reach by public transport
The nearest stops are Mauritskade, Javastraat / Alexanderplein.
Bus: take line 22 or 24 (from The Hague Central Station) and get off at number 22 at the Mauritskade or Javastraat stop. Get off with line 24 at the Mauritskade / Alexanderplein stop. Tram: Take line 1 (from The Hague Hollands Spoor station) and get off at the Mauritskade or Javastraat stop.

How to reach by car
From the A12 and N44 you follow the Utrechtsebaan towards the Javastraat or the Mauritskade. COMM is adjacent to the 'gate' of the city at Zeestraat 82. Parking Park at Plein 1813 (paid parking), or in the parking garage ParkKing Mauritskade / Zeestraat (Mauritskade 4). From here you walk to COMM in 3 minutes.

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Contact details

For any additional questions, please contact

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