A Marketplace on Innovative Financial Solutions for Development (www.fininnov.org) is to be held in Paris on 4-5 March. It is dedicated to innovative financial mechanisms for better mobilizing, channelling, and using funds and aims to collect and highlight fresh ideas on financial solutions for development at global, regional and local levels.
It is expected to bring together more than 1,000 development practitioners, donors, philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, academics, representatives from a range of financial institutions, civil society, and policy-makers from around the world.
It is supported by Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank and will be held in the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in la Villette, Paris.
It is a 2-day event including policy and technical workshops, a marketplace, and presentations showcasing innovative initiatives designed to meet current development challenges.
Five winners of a competition on innovative financial solutions for development will be selected and will each grants of US$100,000 to implement their proposals. The 20 finalists, chosen from 800 submissions, include proposals from:
• Center for Innovative Financial Design, India for a new “savings card” that has the characteristics of a consumption good, giving savers a “shopping experience” while saving.
• International Food Policy Research Institute and Nyala Insurance S.C. for a system of simple weather securities with fixed payments to improve the welfare of millions of rain-dependent farmers in Ethiopia.
• Crimson Capital Corp., which proposes to bring Purchase Order Finance (POF) to the Northern Amazon region in Bolivia, providing early-stage working capital for bio-trade value chains.
(The list of the 20 finalists is available on www.fininnov.org.)
The objectives of the Marketplace are to:
• Advance the agenda on innovative financial solutions for development;
• Facilitate knowledge-sharing and learning, including the exchange of lessons between developing countries (South/South learning) and to review the most effective approaches in terms of impact and efficiency; and
• Spur the introduction of innovative financial mechanisms in order to meet development challenges of varying dimensions.
The meeting is to be opened by Christine Lagarde, French Minister of Economy, Industry, and Employment, and speakers are to include: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Managing Director, The World Bank Group), Jean-Michel Severino (Director General, Agence Française de Développement), Geoffrey Lamb (Managing Director, Public Policy Operations, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), Philippe Douste Blazy (Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Special Adviser to the Secretary General on Innovative Financing for Development, Chair of the Board of UNITAID), Rachel Kyte (Vice President, International Finance Corporation), Eckhard Deutscher (Development Assistance Committee Chair, OECD), and His Highness the Aga Khan.
M Severino is quoted on the website: “We are witnessing a complete transformation of Official Development Assistance in terms of its objective, actors, and instruments. Over the past ten years, international assistance has been extended to such new areas as climate change and is mobilizing new private actors who are operating alongside States.”
According to World Bank Group Managing Director, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, “Innovative finance not only helps bring additional resources to developing countries, it also makes the delivery of development finance more efficient and results-oriented. The World Bank Group has pioneered a range of innovative finance instruments which has helped developing countries immunize women and children, combat the effects of climate change, develop clean technology and access capital markets for catastrophe insurace. The Marketplace provides an opportunity to further explore new ideas and solutions to help developing countries help their people. “