The African Microfinance Week, often referred to as SAM (Semaine africaine de la microfinance), stands as the largest conference dedicated to inclusive finance in Africa. Held in a different African country every two years, this extraordinary five-day event brings together up to 900 professionals in the inclusive finance sector from across the globe. SAM week 2023, was held in Lomé (Togo) from 16-20 October 2023, and some members of our investment team based in Kenya had the opportunity to attend.
The conference covers the latest industry trends and developments, offering attendees training sessions and invaluable networking opportunities. The two-day SAM conference assembles international experts to engage in discussions on the most current developments in inclusive finance, with each edition focusing on a central theme. Moreover, it serves as a continent-wide platform for sharing knowledge and expertise.
Current socioeconomic vulnerabilities are being exacerbated by climate change, with access to water, agricultural productivity, food security, health, peace and stability under particular threat. Once again, vulnerable populations are the most exposed to these risks, particularly in developing countries and in Africa. The 2023 SAM edition, focused on the topic of making finance inclusive and sustainable, and the role that inclusive finance can play – firstly, by mitigating these risks and vulnerabilities and, secondly, by supporting the transition to a green, climate-resilient economy. With regard to achieving this, the importance of commitment and collaboration between different actors in the ecosystem was also discussed.
The goal of the SAM conference is to provide a platform for discussion and sharing ideas. The key take away that our team took from this event was that as socioeconomic vulnerabilities continue to grow all around the world, financial inclusion is key for reducing them, especially in Africa. Financial services are a cornerstone of development, and it is essential to make them accessible if we are to close the socioeconomic gap.
SAM conference participants are always assured of a truly unique opportunity to learn about the latest innovations and trends in sustainable financial inclusion.