In less than two weeks, our friends at the SEEP Network will be hosting their Annual Conference focused this year on Building Inclusive Markets: Impact Through Financial and Enterprise Solutions. We’re particularly interested in this year’s conference because half of the plenary sessions are focused on savings.
The first session, Savings on a Global Scale: How Can We Do Better?, takes place on Wednesday November 7th and features, among others, Leora Klapper from the World Bank’s Global Findex project. Recently, Ms. Klapper presented her work at an event here at the New America Foundation while we were discussing the importance of data when it comes to tracking progress toward financial access. Based on the insights she had, this plenary session is sure to provide a lively and critical discussion on the key issues and challenges to the globalization of savings for the poor.
On the final day of the conference, a plenary session titled New Strategies in Building Assets for the Ultra Poor will examine how to leverage social safety net schemes to create asset building pathways for those living under $1.25 per day. This session will be moderated by Frank DeGiovanni of the Ford Foundation, an integral partner in our work with the Global Savings and Social Protection Initiative, an online database that catalogues social protection programs and opportunities for savings-linkages around the world. Overall, the session will explore how better targeting, when combined with innovative financial inclusion and market facilitation strategies, can strengthen the economic potential of the ultra poor.
Finally, the conference will feature an entire workshop track devoted to "Viable Approaches to Savings Delivery". Jamie Zimmerman, director of the Global Assets Project, will be presenting at one of the workshops within this track on titled To Save or Not to Save: Overcoming Behavioral and Institutional Barriers. Using some our recent work on behavioral economics and current practices in “nudging” savings, she will contribute to an open dialogue and group discussion on balancing innovation in savings for the poor with existing institutional practices.
The conference will take place from November 4th-8th 2012 in Arlington, Virginia. Please visit the conference homepage for complete up-to-date information. We’re sure the event will provide an insightful and productive discussion on the main successes and challenges facing the field of financial services for the poor. We’re looking forward to being part of it and we’ll be live tweeting throughout so follow us @globalassetsNAF using #SEEP2012.