‘Microfinance Success Asia’ event coming to Myanmar for the first time

FIRST ever ‘Microfinance Success Asia’ event is reported to be held in Park Royal Yangon from 23 to 24 July 2019. The event is organized by Singapore-based HBZ Events in consultation with Myanmar Microfinance Association (MMFA).

Microfinance Success Asia focuses on microfinance in emerging Asian economies, offering delegates a world-class conference, a market-leading exhibition and networking opportunities.

According to the organizers, more than 150 attendees are expected to attend the event including Myanmar government officials and representatives from the finance sector specifically microfinance institutions (MFIs), SME and entrepreneurship promotion agencies, banks, farmers associations, technology companies, consultancy companies, financial cooperative experts, development partners as well as policy makers and regulators.

Managing Sustainability & Impact in a Rapidly Evolving Microfinance Sector

Under the theme of ‘Managing Sustainability & Impact in a Rapidly Evolving Microfinance Sector’ Microfinance Success Asia 2019 will provide a forum for stakeholders to tackle issues and share successes that are at the forefront of the industry. It will also provide opportunities for participants to engage in professional exchanges and to network with players from all sectors of the industry. Herman Zaidin, Managing Director of HBZ Event said, “This is a very timely event for Myanmar as well as other emerging Asian countries where microfinance plays a critical role in economic empowerment. We invite all stakeholders to join us in this cornerstone event which will be attended by delegates from over 15 countries.”

Key topics which will be discussed at the event include microfinance industry regulations, best practices for MFIs to enjoy sustainable growth, designing microfinance products that are localized to fit culture and social norms, digitalization of processes in microfinance and opportunities in the Myanmar microfinance sector. Some of the industry leaders that will speak at the event include Mr Gonzalo Gongzalez A, CEO, Dawn Microfinance and Chair of MMFA ICT Working Group; Daw Phyu Yamin Myat, Managing Director, Myanmar Development Partners Co, Ltd and a member of MMFA’s leadership team; Said Syed Mamun Quader, Group Managing Director, Southtech; Cameron Goldie-Scott, CEO, Musoni and Alison Grun, Regional Director Asia Pacific at Software Group.

The event is available only to registered delegates and partners. Microfinance Success Asia 2019 claim to be the first event in the region to have its own dedicated app for both Android and Apple platforms, in line with the dynamic and fast-evolving microfinance sector that has identified digitalization as one of its core tenets. Participants can expect an engaging experience through a host of seamless features such as live polls, Q&As, digital agenda and guide, opportunities for sponsors and exhibitors. The networking experience will be seamless and convenient through the app contacts features leading to ease of forming new relationships.

Microfinance in Myanmar

The demand for microfinance is high in Myanmar. However, few institutions had provided microcredit in the past and unmet demand is estimated by industry experts at close to US$ 1 billion (UNCDF 2012). In November 2011, the government adopted a new Microfinance Law as well as Notification 277 and Instructions. This framework allows local and foreign investors to establish fully privately owned MFIs.

According to “Financial Inclusion in Asia: An Overview by Meghana Ayyagari & Thorsten Beck, 23 December 2015” 1.7 billion people are unbanked, globally. In Asia, less than 27% of adults and only 33% of enterprises have an account or a line of credit or loan from a financial institution.

As can be seen in “Infographic Country Brief Myanmar” 8.8 million of the population in Myanmar own businesses. 56% of enterprises in Myanmar do not have a saving/checking account. Only 7% of SMEs have a line of credit. 52% of businesses identified access to finance as an obstacle. These figures as well as many others in the infographic point to the potential for microfinance in Myanmar and the “Microfinance Success Asia 2019 is expected to play a role in pointing out more potentials and possibilities. — Myanmar Microfinance Association