Smart backs international summit for microfinance

Published October 8, 2013

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Partners against poverty Telco leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has partnered with the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI) have joined forces for the hosting of the 2013 Microcredit Summit: Partnerships Against Poverty Summit here in Manila. In photo, from left, are Jose Benjamin Fernandez, Managing Director, Smart e-Money; Jane Basas, Group Head, Prepaid; Charles Lim, Smart EVP and head of wireless consumer business; Orlando B. Vea, Smart e-Money president and CEO; Mila Bunker, Chairperson, MCPI; Allan Robert Sicat, Executive Director, MCPI; Aileen Paglinawan, Administration and Finance Manager, MCPI; and Lito Villanueva, Head, Innovation, Ecosystem Development and Global Engagements for Smart e-Money.

Microfinance stakeholders from all over the world, led by Nobel Peace Prize Awardee Dr. Muhammad Yunus will be in Manila for a three-day summit in October that will showcase development strategies for poverty alleviation.

Organized by the Washington-based Microcredit Summit Campaign in partnership with the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI) and wireless leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), the 2013 Microcredit Summit: Partnerships Against Poverty Summit will be held on Oct. 9-11, 2013. This is the first time the Philippines is hosting this international event.

The Philippines was chosen to host the 16th international summit on microcredit being one of the countries with the best microfinance regulatory framework and for its many innovations in microfinance and poverty alleviation. Government has also utilized public-private partnerships as a development strategy leading to inclusive growth.

Microfinance practitioners, advocates, educational institutions, donor agencies, international finance institutions, non-governmental organizations and others involved in microfinance will look into best practices and work together to elevate these programs to a larger scale for a more significant impact on the global fight against poverty.

As the exclusive telco sponsor, Smart will be providing wireless connectivity in the venue during the entire duration of the summit. A number of internet kiosks will also be deployed in the events hall. It can also be viewed online via live streaming.

“We are proud to be part of this summit that hopes to address the pressing global problem on poverty. This couldn’t have come at a more critical time with only two years left to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals,” said Smart Chief Wireless Advisor Orlando B. Vea.

The Millennium Development Goals target to cut global poverty by half in 2015.

In the Philippines, the recorded poverty incidence for the first half of 2012 was 27.9 percent, which means an estimated 24.3 million Filipinos live below the poverty line. Government data showed the statistic has hardly changed over the past six years.

“With the summit, we hope to learn from other countries and at the same time, share how we have utilized mobile communications technology to help improve lives,” said Vea.

Through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Smart e-Money, Inc., the telco has been pursuing service innovations in the areas of mobile banking and microfinance.

“With our series of innovations on the e-money domain, we remain steadfast to be at the forefront in advancing our advocacy in providing the enabling environment for inclusive growth through trailblazing technology within a dynamic payments ecosystem,” said Lito Villanueva, head, Innovation, Ecosystem Development and Global Engagements for Smart e-Money.

Smart’s mobile wallet services have won several awards from distinguished international organizations and have led to strategic alliances with leaders in the remittance and payment industries.

With over 10 years of experience in the mobile commerce industry and a pioneer in mobile banking and mobile wallet services, Smart has implemented a proprietary mobile commerce infrastructure that spans different products and services across different market segments, partnered with various financial institutions in catering to the financial transaction requirements of both the banked and unbanked sectors.