Digital Future of Microfinance: A Realistic Path Towards Big Dreams


06 June 2023 9:00 am - 12:00 pm EDT
This event has concluded.

Download the presentation and watch the recordings (available in English, Spanish, and French).

The industry that once was a vanguard of financial inclusion and remains unchallenged in serving the lowest tiers of customer segments is dreaming of a digital future. In the search for a roadmap toward that future, microfinance institutions and investors have deployed significant resources in digital technology with varied results. Expectations are high – the $200 billion industry is expected to grow and expand its mission, not least to support climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. 

Following key principles identified through previous work, CGAP has conducted a series of pilots and exercises in a community of practice. Through this work, we demonstrated how most microfinance institutions can leverage technology to grow their business, deliver value to customers, and embark on the digital future. 

Join this virtual workshop to learn what we did and whether we succeeded. You can choose to join either or both sessions:

  • In Part 1 (9:00-10:30am EST), we will present the principles of successful digitization and provide examples of how those principles get implemented. The session will feature findings from the CGAP pilots and main insights. 
  • In Part 2 (10:30am-12pm EST), the community of practice members will share their experience from the CGAP project and the results. The session will focus on the credit renewal automation pilots and insights from the work on business intelligence. 

The workshop will be held in English and simultaneously translated into Spanish and French. While our speakers will share what successful digitization looks like and what the future of microfinance could be, all attendees are invited to participate in the discussion and share their experiences. 

Introductory Remarks

Lead, Financial Services for Equality and Growth

Xavier Faz is the lead for CGAP’s work on technology and business models in digital finance. His area of work includes emerging technologies, fintech and digital banking, as well as open platforms. He is also CGAP’s Regional Head for Latin America & the Caribbean.

Prior to CGAP, Xavier was VP of Strategic Planning for a development bank in Mexico, where he helped launch a line of services offering low cost banking infrastructure and payments to microfinance and nonbank financial institutions in that market. He also worked with McKinsey & Company in Mexico and Central America, supporting large organizations in banking, retail and consumer goods, in leveraging emerging technologies to launch new base-of-the-pyramid businesses. Before that, Xavier was a Systems Engineer at several startups in Mexico and Silicon Valley, as well as Field Engineer for Schlumberger in North Africa.

Xavier has a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Stanford University and an Engineering degree in Electronic Systems from the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey, México.


Co-founder, Rubyx

Thomas Carrié is co-founder of Rubyx, a global start-up specialising in the development of digital credit portfolios for micro-entrepreneurs and SMEs in emerging markets. He manages business development and operations. Based on an innovative approach combining service design and behavioural analytics, Rubyx operates in more than 10 countries and processes data from over 2 million micro businesses per day. 

Thomas has 15 years of experience implementing financial inclusion projects mixing technology, financial services and innovation in emerging markets. After 4 years working with Positive Planet, a French NGO dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs, he joined Baobab, a international group of financial institutions, where he was designing and implementing digital products and services. Thomas has worked in more than 10 countries over Africa and Asia.

Head of Project Management Office, Analytics & Quality Assurance, AMFB Nigeria

Currently serving as Head, Project Management Office, Analytics & Quality Assurance at AMFB Nigeria, Peter Okordion is a highly accomplished professional in digital transformation management, specializing in the banking and microfinance sector. With over a decade of expertise in Analytics, Product Management, Business Development, and Project Execution within the Financial and Digital industries, Peter has led numerous successful digital initiatives with focus on driving operational efficiency, enhancing customer experience, and fostering innovation within the banking sector.

Okordion’s noteworthy achievements include the successful deployment of a Digital Field Applications (DFA) system to streamline the operations of the bank's field officers. He has also implemented a Data Analytics platform and played a key role in spearheading the bank's comprehensive digital transformation program. This program aimed to optimize existing digital channels such as web, mobile apps, IVR, and USSD, ensuring channel stability, increasing customer adoption, and driving revenue growth.

He has over 15 years of experience in technology, digital strategy, process automation, and digital product implementation.

Deputy Executive Director, Shakti Foundation for Disadvantaged Women

Mr. Imran Ahmed is the Deputy Executive Director of Shakti Foundation for Disadvantaged Women. He is responsible for managing all programs of the organization including Micro Finance, SME, Health and Climate Change.

He also oversees the Training Department and leads the IT Department, which is focused on providing better service experience & digital inclusion to Shakti’s clients. Mr. Imran Ahmed is also an advisor to the Honorable Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation. 

He was previously a Vice President at comScore Inc., a premier data analytics company based out of Washington D.C. USA, where he led Client Services and Product Leadership business units. Prior to joining comScore, Mr. Ahmed worked at McKinsey & Company, where he focused on operations and strategy.

Mr. Ahmed earned his MA in International Economics and Finance from Brandeis University, USA and his BA in Mathematics from Bard College, USA.

Senior Financial Sector Specialist

Ivo Jeník currently leads CGAP’s work on regulatory architecture at the frontier, inclusive data ecosystems (open finance), and microfinance digitization. Previously he led work on regulatory innovation (crowdfunding, regulatory sandboxes), capacity building for policy makers (regulation and supervision of digital financial services) and emerging business models in banking across continents.

Ivo’s core expertise is in policy. Before joining CGAP, he worked in the Responsible Financial Access team at the World Bank, where he specialized in financial consumer protection and alternative dispute resolution. His professional experience spans across both the private and public sector, including serving as a compliance officer at an investment company and as Head of the Collective Investment Department at the Czech Financial Ombudsman.

Ivo has a Master’s degree in Law from Columbia Law School in New York and a Master’s degree in Law from Charles University in Prague.

Data Analyst

Kay is a highly skilled data professional with six years of experience in the field. Kay has a proven track record of collaborating with cross-functional teams and providing technical expertise on data-related issues and has developed regular and customized reports and dashboards that have helped organizations fulfill their data needs.

At Yoma Bank, Kay played a key role in the development and successful launch of SMART Credit in 2018, an unsecured lending solution that utilizes a data-driven credit scoring engine in collaboration with Experian. The project was recognized with the Best Data and Analytics Initiative Program award by The Asian Banker in 2019.

Kay holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.


Mark is a development finance specialist with over 25 years of international experience in developing financial institutions, regulatory frameworks and funding market instruments. He is a consultant with IFC and president of Frontier Ventures, providing advisory services to financial service providers, regulatory authorities, socially responsible investors and development agencies working in developing economies. He holds a Master’s degree in International Development from Harvard University.


Isabelle Barrès works on CGAP’s guidance for MFI digital transformation. Over the past 23 years, Isabelle has promoted responsible and sustainable finance by leading industry-wide initiatives to increase collaboration and accelerate positive change. She co-founded the MIX and oversaw the development of the first global performance benchmarks, led the financial inclusion industry’s efforts on consumer protection through the Smart Campaign, and is now leading the Green Map project to increase the effectiveness of climate-focused action.

She holds an MBA from McGill University and a postgraduate degree in development economics from the Sorbonne University.