European Microfinance Week is fast approaching, and this year, the tenth anniversary of the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), it promises to be more interesting and engaging than ever.

Now a major annual event of the microfinance industry, it hosts high-level discussions by all sectors of the European microfinance community working in developing countries, including consultants & support service providers, investors, multilateral & national development agencies, NGOs and researchers.

This broad group of stakeholders means e-MFP has grown to be one of the industry’s premier networks for knowledge sharing, and is proud to once again welcome over 400 top professionals from the microfinance and financial inclusion sectors, from several dozen countries.

This year’s conference, held between 16-18 November at the Abbaye de Neumünster, takes a somewhat different approach than previous editions. Rather than a single overarching theme, the conference will provide equal focus to six main streams: green microfinance; investors, donors and funders; rural finance; social performance; and digital innovations and the 2016 European Microfinance Award topic of Access to Education.

Within these six broad streams, there will be a range of plenary sessions (a fantastic line-up of ‘Microfinance and Access to Education’; ‘Microfinance and Housing, One Brick at a Time’; and ‘Digital Finance: Full Inclusion or Empty Promise?’) and over twenty workshops on Thursday 17 and Friday 18 November, complementing the work of the Action Groups, which will meet on Wednesday 16 November to discuss the work undertaken over the previous year and the plans for 2017.

As always, running alongside European Microfinance Week is the now-annual European Microfinance Award, jointly organised by the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs – Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, e-MFP, and the Inclusive Finance Network ( Luxembourg in cooperation with the European Investment Bank (EIB). This year’s Award – the seventh – addresses a crucial and fascinating area of innovation for MFIs: microfinance and access to education. How can financial institutions work to address the supply- and demand-side issues facing poor communities in providing quality, universal education, in partnership with schools, governments and the private sector?

The winner will be announced and the Award presented on 17 November at a ceremony at the European Investment Bank headquarters.

Christoph Pausch, Executive Secretary of e-MFP, said: “In ten years, the European Microfinance Platform has grown to be a really important voice for the European microfinance industry working in developing countries, and European Microfinance Week – including the Award – is more interesting and engaging than ever, and something we are very proud of. This year particularly, we look forward to welcoming people from all over the world to join e-MFP in supporting the sector and identifying and influencing the innovations yet to come”.

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