“Financial Education to Empower Citizens. All Aboard!” was the theme of the 14th edition of the European Microfinance Network (EMN)’s Annual Conference sponsored by the Institute, together with the EIB and the EIF. For two days in Venice, some 300 delegates – microfinance practitioners, service providers, academics and researchers, policy makers, NGOs and guarantee-granting institutions – discussed how financial education can help vulnerable populations, such as microfinance clients, and how it can prompt the microfinance sector to tailor its products to have a higher social impact while prioritising clients’ needs.

For the first time, the conference organised an EMN Speed Meeting session enabling EU officials and potential social impact investors to meet with various microfinance institutions (MFIs) in a tailored networking setting.

The European Microfinance Research Award 2017 awarded by the Hague University of Applied Sciences and the EMN went to Enrico Bellazzecca (Glasgow Caledonian University – Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health) and Olga Biosca (GCU London – Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health).

In a declaration, the European Microfinance Network put the spotlight on the importance of increasing the financial literacy of the population in order to fight social exclusion. The declaration says financial literacy should be included as a key competence within the Lifelong Learning Key Competences Framework, currently under review by the European Commission. It also highlights the importance of the multi-stakeholder approach when promoting financial education efforts and thus, inclusive finance.