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Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum

11 July 2016 - 14 July 2016

The inaugural Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum was a major new industry initiative that explored and discussed the differences, similarities and opportunities for achieving financial inclusion within this unique region.

The 1st Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum was an initiative of the Banking with the Poor Network (BWTP) and organized by the Foundation for Development Cooperation (FDC) and Appui au Développement Autonome (ADA), in partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund’s SHIFT programme, which receives donor support from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Forum was hosted by the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC).

The Forum took place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from 11-14 July 2016 with the aim of strengthening the level of cooperation and knowledge exchange between countries and institutions to progress financial inclusion within the Greater Mekong Subregion, namely: Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, and People’s Republic of China (specifically Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region).



The Forum addressed the region’s priority issues, including the role of national development strategies, best practice regulation and supervision, the use of technology and alternative delivery channels, the provision of client education and consumer protection, developing infrastructure that will enable financing for micro, small and medium enterprise and creating and promoting coordinated action and partnerships between the private sector, government, the community and development partners.

The Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum was a leading regional event, with 320 delegates representing microfinance institutions, government agencies, credit unions, community-based institutions, commercial banks, mobile network operators, central banks and regulators, development banks, insurance companies, educational and research institutions, donor groups, NGOs, financial hardware and software providers, consultants and professional service firms attending.

An overview of the Forum and summary of each session can be downloaded here.

Sponsors & Partners

The Banking with the Poor Network, FDC and ADA appreciate the support for the Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum provided by our sponsors and partners.

Mekong Sponsors   


Program Overview

Members of the Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum Steering Committee identified a range of priority challenges and opportunities for achieving greater financial inclusion in the Mekong region. The Forum provided a platform to seek solutions to these challenges and identify areas where solutions and opportunities can be enhanced through greater cooperation.

Forum delegates had the opportunity to participate in several plenary conference sessions to learn about new initiatives, discuss and debate ‘best practice’, exchange knowledge and build partnerships to increase progress towards achieving greater financial inclusion in the region. The Forum was proceeded by a day of multiple intensive workshops giving delegates further opportunities to build capacity and network with other stakeholders, and followed by the Mekong Microfinance Investor’s Fair.

The complete forum program can be downloaded here.

An overview of the Forum and summary of each session can be downloaded here.


The first Mekong Microfinance Investor’s fair

Organized for the first time in the Mekong region, the objective of the Microfinance Investor’s Fair was to bring microfinance institutions (MFIs) together with the investors active in the sub region. By encouraging these partnerships and exchanges of experiences, the Fair aimed to increase access to external funding for MFIs.

The first Mekong Investor’s fair took place on Thursday 14th July 2016, at the Intercontinental hotel in Phnom Penh, following the Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum.

Microfinance Investors Directory 2016

Selected photos of the Investor Fair can be viewed here.

An overview of the Forum and summary of each session can be downloaded here.

Selected presentations from the Forum are listed below.

Please view the Session Videos and Selected Interviews for further insights from the Forum.

Launch of Cambodia Financial Inclusion Demand Side Survey (FinScope) by the National Bank of Cambodia
• FinScope Consumer Survey Highlights, Cambodia, 2015

Session 1: Overview of the Mekong Region
Nina Nayar, Associate, The Foundation for Development Cooperation

Session 2: Financing the Excluded: Innovations for Last Mile Financing in the Mekong
Chea Phalarin, Chief Executive Officer, Amret Microfinance Institution, Cambodia
Isara Wongrung, Senior Executive Vice President (Personal Customer Group), Government Savings Bank, Thailand
• Gaurav Bhandari, Senior Global Partnerships Manager – Asia, Greenlight Planet (video)

Session 6: Realizing Potential and Minimizing Risk through Client Protection and Developing Financial Capability
• Shane Nichols, Program Director, Good Return


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