On 18 and 19 November the European Fund for Southeast Europe celebrated a decade of development finance under the motto "Balancing the future – transform, transfer, technologize”. More than 300 delegates from nearly 30 countries gathered in Berlin to discuss the latest trends in the financial industry in Southeast Europe (SEE) and the European Eastern Neighbourhood region (ENR). Speakers included central bank governors from the target region as well as senior delegates from banking and microfinance associations, international financial institutions, fintech companies and financial institutions from the EFSE’s 16 target countries.
Focusing on the key words "transform, transfer, technologize” the delegates had the opportunity to contribute their insights from a thematic point of view in various interactive sessions through the day. The keyword ‘transfer’ addresses the question "How can financial institutions learn from the front runners of social entrepreneurship”. ‘Transform’ focuses on the issue "Is the future of MSE lending advisory driven or technology driven?” And ‘Technologize’ examines "How will disruptive technologies impact the role of traditional financial intermediaries?”
In the past 10 years the EFSE managed to become a role-model for public-private partnerships in the highly specialised field of development finance – and to grow into one of the largest microfinance funds in the world. From its origins in the merger of four predecessor funds in the Balkans – the "European Funds for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia" – the EFSE has expanded to 16 target countries in SEE and ENR, currently providing finance to more than 150,000 active end-borrowers for an aggregate loan volume of EUR 875 million.
The Advisory Group of the EFSE, comprised of the governors of the central banks of EFSE target countries, exchanged experiences and discussed the way forward in a special session before the conference.
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