THE Asian Microfinance Forum 2010 wrapped up yesterday bringing to a close three full days of conferences, panel sessions and seminars all of which were well attended by almost 500 delegates from 50 countries who were in Colombo for the event as well as many local industrialists, bankers and other interested parties.
Addressing the audience in his closing remarks, Country Head and CEO, Sri Lanka, Glen Rase expressed his thanks to the participants and delegates who had come down to Sri Lanka to attend the Forum which spoke volumes for the ever increasing interest and importance of microfinance, especially in Asia.
“The input that we received over the past couple of days was tremendous and has led to the development of new partnerships, alliances, new programmes and securing new funding. This has also reinforced Citi’s initiative to back such organisations like BWTP in their future endeavours”, he said.
Deputy General Manager (Marketing and retail banking), HNB Sri Lanka and Chairman, BWTP Network Chandula Abeywickrema mirrored Rase’s thoughts in his closing remarks, thanking the sponsors and organisations profusely while announcing the news that the Banking With The Poor Network (BWTP) was to be launched as an independent institution.
“This has been a historic moment – Colombo being chosen to host the Forum this year was indeed a privilege. I am also proud to announce that BWTP that has so far been a programme under the FTC will from today be an independent institution and I am very happy that this has happened under my tenure as the Chairman of the organisation. I believe that it has evolved into a significant brand representative for greater financial inclusion in Asia”, Abeywickrema stated.
The closing plenary session which brought the event to a close summarised all what had been discussed over the past three days and proved to be very interactive with members of the audience jumping in with their thoughts and queries.
Managing Director of M-CRIL India, Sanjay Sinha, a panelist aired many candid remarks which stimulated much discussion amongst those present.
“Industries in the past have always said that it will be different this time around. In 1999-2000, people said that the internet will change the rules of economics; after that they said that the property prices in the US would never fall and I think that the microfinance is also at this same stage right now”, stated Sinha, when speaking about the current situation of the industry — a comment that was greeted by a round of applause from the audience.