Julie Bouchat (InFine.lu):
Inclusive Finance Network Luxembourg
Julie Bouchat, Manager of InFiNe.lu presents InFiNe.lu’s advocacy and pooling work of Luxembourg’s knowledge and expertise in the field of inclusive finance.
Can you present inclusive finance in a few words?
By inclusive finance, InFiNe.lu means the right for all people to have access to quality, socially responsible and low-cost financial services and products. This ranges from the possibility for all to have a bank account, save and transfer money, to having access to insurance products and loans. These products and services must meet the real needs of the populations and take into account the economic and political contexts. Currently, there are over 2 billion people who still have no access to a bank account. For example, inclusive finance supports the development of new technologies to facilitate access to bank services, the implementation of products like microcredit (small loans intended, among other things, to help people start up their own business), and insurance products adapted to clients’ profiles.
« Real expertise in inclusive finance has been developed in Luxembourg »
What is Luxembourg's added value in inclusive finance?
For over 20 years, Luxembourg has been involved in supporting inclusive finance. From an early stage, the Government understood the importance of inclusive finance in helping development, among other things. This domain has become a cross-sectorial dimension of its international development programmes. In addition, each year in November, the Government grants EUR 100 000, the European Microfinance Award, to a microfinance institution based in the South in recognition of its work carried out in the sector. In 2017, the topic of the award is Microfinance for Housing and it is co-organised by InFiNe.lu, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs -Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs and e-MFP. Real expertise in inclusive finance has been developed in Luxembourg, in the microfinance funds sector, among others. The Grand-Duchy is one of the principal jurisdictions for microfinance investment vehicles (MIVs). Indeed, the great majority of MIVs are domiciled in the country. This is explained by a flexible regulatory framework for MIVs and a political will to invest in the sector.
What is the mission of InFine.lu?
The network aims to consolidate Luxembourg position as centre for excellence in inclusive finance and to establish synergies among the members. For the moment, InFiNe.lu gathers together 29 members from the public and private sectors and from civil society who are all active in a sector of inclusive finance such as socially responsible investment funds, microcredit, micro-insurance or support for the agricultural sector in the South. Based on a peer learning, the mission also includes the creation and dissemination of knowledge, know-how and best practices in the field of inclusive finance. Furthermore the Secretariat of InFiNe.lu, a team of 2 managers Catherine Van Ouytsel and myself, organises conferences for the public at large and brain-storming sessions with specialists on inclusive finance themes. The network also offers training in inclusive finance for its members. Recently a training session on finance for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises was organised in collaboration with the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. he final mission of the network's is also to advocate for a finance inclusive and responsible in order to advance social inclusion and to fight poverty.