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22-24 January 2019, Cairo, Egypt: 2nd symposium of the Financial Inclusion Global Initiative

Spotlight on innovation to expand financial inclusion in developing countries




Geneva, 20 December 2018

​1.7 billion adults are still without access to a bank account, but among them, 1.1 billion have a mobile phone.

Innovation to expand financial inclusion will be in focus at the second symposium of the Financial Inclusion Global Initiative (FIGI) in Cairo, Egypt, 22-24 January 2019.

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Egypt is one of three 'model' developing countries, alongside China and Mexico, receiving technical assistance from the FIGI community in the introduction of policy reforms to stimulate digital financial inclusion.

The FIGI Symposium 2019 will share lessons learnt from China, Egypt and Mexico in the promotion of electronic payments, efforts to capitalize on Fintech innovation, and the harmonization of ICT and finance regulation.

A 'hackathon' in the run-up to the symposium will propose actions to encourage the emergence of a marketplace for open APIs enabling small merchants to adopt e-payment services at low cost.

Capacity building workshops will address topics including key performance indicators for the quality of digital financial services, cybersecurity for financial market infrastructures, and next-generation authentication technologies.


Fresh insight emerging from FIGI's working groups will be on show, covering:
  • Data privacy in digital finance
  • Policy considerations relevant to digital ID in finance
  • The status of e-payment acceptance
  • Secure authentication technologies
  • Know-Your-Customer registries
  • Artificial Intelligence for financial inclusion
  • 'Sandboxes' to foster and regulate Fintech innovation
  • Data analysis to understand the reach of digital financial services

What: 2nd FIGI Symposium – bringing thought leaders together to advance digital banking access for the world's millions of unbanked.

When: 22-24 January 2019

Where: Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski Hotel, First Settlement, Ring Road, 11477 Cairo, Egypt, hosted by the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Egypt.

Why: Identify and review the latest innovations in digital financial services and related policy and regulatory reform, sharing knowledge and expertise to expand financial inclusion.

Who: Leading policy-makers, ICT regulators, central banks, mobile network operators, payment system organizations, standards bodies, international organizations and the Fintech community.

About FIGI: 3 model countries, 3 working groups, 3 symposia

FIGI is a three-year programme of collective action to advance research in digital finance and accelerate digital financial inclusion in developing countries.

Led by ITU, the World Bank Group and the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructure (CPMI) – with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – FIGI enacts the manifesto provided by the PAFI guiding principles, the Level One guidelines and the ITU policy recommendations for digital financial services.

FIGI focuses on three 'model' developing countries and consists of two complementary 'operational' and 'knowledge' streams.

The operational stream supports policy innovation in China, Egypt and Mexico, countries with significant potential to form case studies of value to other countries around the world.


The knowledge stream, enacted by three working groups, advances research in three key areas of digital finance:
  1. The relationship between digital ID and financial inclusion
  2. Electronic payment acceptance by merchants and their customers
  3. Security and trust in digital financial services

Three FIGI symposia will showcase national experiences in promoting financial inclusion and share the latest findings of FIGI's three working groups.

2017 hosted the first FIGI symposium in Bangalore, India, shining a spotlight on India's world-renowned biometric ID programme, Aadhaar, and the foundation that Aadhaar provides for financial inclusion.