FOROMIC to ad­dress en­trepreneur­ship, ur­ban in­clu­sion and cli­mate change is­sues

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPCIAL -

MORE THAN 1,000 peo­ple from across the Amer­i­cas – or even fur­ther away – will, later this month, gather in Mon­tego Bay, St James, for the 19th an­nual FOROMIC con­fer­ence, the re­gion’s most im­por­tant event fo­cused on fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion and how it drives eco­nomic devel­op­ment and in­no­va­tion.

This is the first time Ja­maica will host FOROMIC, and only the sec­ond time the con­fer­ence will be tak­ing place in the English-speak­ing Caribbean.

It is a unique op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple work­ing in fi­nan­cial ser­vices, busi­ness and en­trepreneur­ship devel­op­ment, and im­pact in­vest­ment to net­work, learn about key trends and chal­lenges in the re­gion, and ex­plore op­por­tu­ni­ties to work with the In­ter-Amer­i­can Devel­op­ment Bank (IDB).

When the first FOROMIC took place in 1998, there were only about 200 mi­cro­fi­nance in­sti­tu­tions in the re­gion, serv­ing 1.5 mil­lion clients, and the sec­tor was highly de­pen­dent on sub­si­dies from non-gov­ern­men­tal in­sti­tu­tions. To­day, the re­gion boasts one of the world’s most di­verse, sta­ble, and in­clu­sive fi­nan­cial sys­tems, with more than 1,000 providers – most of them reg­u­lated and sus­tain­able – and 20 mil­lion clients. This shift from mi­cro­fi­nance to broad-based fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion hap­pened through a lot of hard work, open­ness to in­no­va­tion, and cat­alytic part­ner­ships.

With the ground­work laid and mi­cro­fi­nance in­creas­ingly be­ing seen as the means to achiev­ing high-im­pact eco­nomic growth, FOROMIC will be aim­ing to an­swer sev­eral ques­tions, in­clud­ing whether there are ways for tal­ented mi­cro and small en­trepreneurs to get the fi­nanc­ing they need to build their firms and cre­ate jobs.

SHARP­EN­ING FO­CUS

Just as the mi­cro­fi­nance sec­tor is look­ing to sharpen its fo­cus and reach new sec­tors and seg­ments, so, too, is the IDB’s Mul­ti­lat­eral In­vest­ment Fund (MIF), FOROMIC ’s or­gan­iser.

For over two decades, the MIF has served as an “in­no­va­tion lab” for the IDB, re­spond­ing to emerg­ing needs in Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean and part­ner­ing with lo­cal ac­tors to pi­lot mar­ket­based devel­op­ment so­lu­tions.

“This year has been a trans­for­ma­tive

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