Partners meet to focus on projects, challenges during Covid-19 pandemic in Africa
Day 1 poll shows Covid-19 as savings enabler by nearly 2 to 1 margin
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BRUSSELS, 21 October 2020 – Covid-19 provides a catalyst for further savings in Africa, according to a nearly two-thirds of banking sector experts attending the first of the three-day WSBI-Scale2Save programme annual peer exchange virtual workshop.
In an online poll of participants, 59 per cent of nearly 50 participants consider Covid-19 as an enabler of savings, with the remaining respondents saying it dis-enables savings in Africa. Although the question posed did not explore long or short-term impacts of Covid-19 on savings, the result underscores how Scale2Save partner institutions tackle pandemic challenges.
The poll gave attendees a starting point to focus on how Scale2Save programme aims, project activities and learning from research can help address the current pandemic on banks' ability to establish the viability of small-scale savings in Africa.
Graph: Scale2Save Peer Review Workshop Attendee Poll. 21 October 2020 (N=50)
Latest research on people, savings and Covid-19
Attendees at Day 1 had a chance to see how Covid-19 impacts the supply-side, namely what banks offer. Useful insights also came from two Covid-related demand-side research efforts commissioned by FinMark Trust and Microsave. That research provided participants a better grasp of how people's income sources have been affected during the coronacrisis and how it hits savings and spending behaviour of particularly low- and middle-income households. The research matters because it enables programme partners, which includes banks and microfinance institutions in six African countries to improve the service offer to those who need financial services most.
Update from Mastercard Foundation
A presentation by Mastercard Foundation's Diaka Sall, who serves as Lead for Agriculture in Senegal, highlighted the foundation “Young Africa Works" strategy, a bold ambition to ensures 30 million young women and men gain access to dignified and fulfilling work across the continent. Young Africa Works focuses on areas that include micro-, small-, medium-sized enterprises and agriculture digital technology education.
“Service providers continue to expand and offer tailor made solutions, many more Africans would be included in savings will grow at the individual family and community levels, offering a pathway out of poverty. To drive this agenda, however, service providers must be innovative in their thinking and inclusive in their approach."
“At the MasterCard Foundation, we are blessed to be in a position to partner with organisations such as WSBI under the Scale2Save programme to support initiatives and ensuring many more people on the continent are included and embrace the savings culture. on behalf of the master calculation."
WSBI perspective of programme so far
WSBI Managing Director Chris De Noose provided a keynote address, saying that the workshop aim is for participants to take away new ideas and solutions to help them navigate through Covid-19 with your customers and your peers.
He noted: “We heard today about the challenges and opportunities Covid-19 implies on savings. Saving becomes more important than ever, as we face ever-challenging times – Covid-19, digitalisation, global economic and political uncertainty as well as climate change. Those factors especially hit low-income people. Given those challenges, savings continue to deliver, help people cope, help us navigate rough waters and help build up bank capital."
Working group sessions on Day 2
Tomorrow's Day 2 schedule builds on the plenary and features four sessions, including one for executives on managing change during Covid-19. Project team members take part in three successive sessions to solve agent network challenges faced during the pandemic, how to make better use of internal customer data, and a delves into the digital customer journey – transitioning away from traditional savings practices. The third and final day provides a wrap-up, with feedback from Day 2 working groups and caps off with a Scale2Save outlook for 2021.
Scale2Save Programme Director Weselina Angelow said: "Three out of the four group sessions held on Day 2 will be led by the Scale2Save partner banks, which shows the high level of commitment that partner banks have demonstrated despite and during the challenging Covid-19 lockdown period. Kudos to Scale2Save partners!"
Closing out Day 1, De Noose concluded: "We are thrilled about having many of you being a part of the Scale2Save family and have so many others joining from the Mastercard Foundation Savings Learning Lab and the WSBI family. Their individual efforts in driving financial inclusion – this despite the challenges that come with Covid – make us proud."
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