ADA et la recherche


Bringing together people from universities with those from the field to discuss a current issue of inclusive finance sector.

Area of intervention


  • Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance - University of Luxembourg
  • European Investment Bank Institute (associated partner) 

Some key figures 

  • 2 symposia organized since 2014
  •  Symposium 2015:  100 participants in 4 sessions held with 15 speakers



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Third edition of ADA academic Symposium

ADA Academic Symposium

Financial inclusion in the digital age

19 October 2016, 8h30 - 17h15

EIB, Luxembourg-Kirchberg 

WEST building (100, boulevard Konrad Adenauer)



One of ADA's objectives is to facilitate exchange between researchers and practitioners and to create links between academic analysis and field practice, through initiatives such as the academic symposium.

In 2016, the third edition of the Symposium will cover the topic of innovation and technology for financial inclusion, and is organised with the support of the European Investment Bank Institute and the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance at the University of Luxembourg.

Historically, the high cost of construction and operation related to traditional bank branches was a major obstacle to reaching the poorest clients. Install and maintain these branches is very costly for banks, especially in remote areas, while many customers living in rural areas cannot bear the costs of travelling to urban areas.

The unbanked population has therefore more and more access to financial services through digital channels. Banks, microfinance institutions (MFIs), mobile operators and other providers use mobile phones and POS terminals, as well as agent networks, to provide basic financial services more conveniently and at a lower cost than what traditional bank services allow. Also referred to as “branchless banking”, these digital services offer great promise to better serve poor clients.

The symposium will attempt to answer some of the questions that these new technologies raise, such as the potential financial, operational and customer risks involved, the role of regulation to promote an enabling ecosystem, the emergence of new tools for the professionalization of the sector, and the different collaboration models that can be set up between the new and existing market players.


The symposium will be composed of 4 consecutive sessions on the following topics:

  1. Although presenting many advantages for advancing financial inclusion, digital financial services are not without risks. Might they be financial – for example related to the long-term profitability of investing in this type of product – operational – network outages, transaction security and agent networks management – or linked to the clients – with the transition from a face to face relationship to a remote interaction, the first session will outline the risks and challenges raised by digital finance.
  2. The second session will focus on the development of new tools and technologies to foster capacity building in the sector – from mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones to enable more efficiency at the level of loan officers, to an e-learning platform designed for degree courses in microfinance and a simulation tool to teach good practices for MFI management.
  3. The third session will examine the role of regulation for the establishment of an enabling ecosystem for the development of digital finance. How to foster the emergence of an environment while putting the necessary limits? How to promote competitiveness while protecting customers? Panellists in this session will discuss the difficult balance of a good regulation, and present regulatory examples already in place in some countries.
  4. The fourth session will finally explore the relationship between the different actors, traditional and emerging, which form the digital finance landscape. Fintech, mobile operators and MFIs: between competition and partnership, how can these different stakeholders work together for more effectiveness?




The programme of 2016 ADA’s Academic Symposium 

8.30 - 9.00 : Registration
9.00 - 9.30 : Welcoming words 

Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Luxembourg (TBC)

Francisco de Paula Coelho, Dean of the European Investment Bank Institute, Luxembourg

Dirk Zetzsche, Holder of the ADA Chair in Financial Law (Inclusive Finance), Université de Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Laura Foschi, Deputy Director, Appui au Développement Autonome (ADA), Luxembourg


09.30 - 10.45: 1st session: Transition to digital financial inclusion: what are the risks?

Moderation: Sarah Canetti, Head of Investment, Appui au Développement Autonome, Luxembourg

Ronald Everts, Associate and Consultant, Operations & distribution channels, PHB Development, Netherlands

James Onyutta, CEO, Musoni Kenya

Beth Porter, Financial Inclusion Policy Advisor for UNCDF and the Better Than Cash Alliance, USA (TBC)


10.45 - 11.15: Coffee break 

11.15 - 12.30 : 2nd session: Technology for capacity building in inclusive finance

Moderation: Juana Ramirez, Research & Development Senior Project Officer, Appui au Développement Autonome, Luxembourg

Mohamed Attanda, Executive Director, Microfinance African institutions Network (MAIN), Togo

Paul Surreaux, Technical Support Project officer, Appui au Développement Autonome, Luxembourg

Khang Vu Tien, Blockchain practitioner and CTO of Bitbank, Luxembourg

Joyce C. Murithi, Manager, Inclusive Finance and Banking, MicroSave, Kenya


12.30 - 14.00: Lunch

14.00 - 15.15: 3rd session: How to regulate inclusive digital financial services?

Moderation: Dirk Zetzsche, Holder of the ADA Chair in Financial Law (Inclusive Finance), University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg 

Dr. Shariq Nisar, Former Sr. Visiting Fellow, Harvard Law School and Professor, Rizvi Institute of Management Studies and Research, India

Jean-Marc Goy, Counsel for International Affairs, Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF), Luxembourg 

Ross Buckley, University of New South Wales (TBC)


15.15 - 15.45 :  Coffee break 

15.45 - 17.00 : 4th session: MFIs, mobile operators and fintechs: collaboration or competition?

Moderation: Alexandra Sanchez, Training & Research Expert on Branchless Banking and Remittances, PHB Development, Spain

Devyani Parameshwar, Lead Product Development Manager for M-Pesa at the Vodafone Group, UK

Athu Karume, Director of Business Development Africa, First Access, Tanzania

Helen Lin, Manager, Digital Financial Services Strategy, FINCA, Tanzania

Thierry Artaud, Managing Director, M-BIRR ICT Services PLC, Ethiopia


17.00 - 17.15 : Closure
17.15 : Closing drink

The drinks and the lunch will be offered by the EIB.


Registration for the symposium have been closed.

The symposium will be held in French and English with simultaneous translation.

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