Carlos Torres Vila announces in Davos that the BBVA Microfinance Foundation joins alliance to bridge the digital gap
With its productive finance methodology (financial services, training and advice), the BBVA Microfinance Foundation plans to disburse, through its microfinance institutions, 7 billion euros in loans and provide direct services to 4.5 million low-income entrepreneurs, most of them women, with digital solutions and programs for their development in digital and financial skills, internet access, etc. Considering the families of these entrepreneurs, it is estimated that the lives of more than 14 million people in vulnerable sectors will be impacted.
Edison is an alliance promoted by the World Economic Forum to accelerate access to digitization for all, with a focus on financial inclusion, education and health, in line with the Davos philosophy of collaboration and multi-sectoral impact. It brings together the main leaders of the public and private sectors to reduce the digital divide that affects 37% of the world's population, 2.9 billion people, 96% of them in developing countries (Source: ITU, International Telecommunication Union is the specialized telecommunications agency of the United Nations Organization). As for financial inclusion, according to the latest data from the World Bank, almost 1.7 billion adults, mostly in poor countries, do not have a bank account, which represents 31% of the world's adult population.
Among the 46 ‘champions’ of the Edison Alliance, Carlos Torres Vila is the only member from Spain. The list includes figures such as Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, in her capacity as United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development. “The combined effect of digitization and education offers endless opportunities to the most vulnerable and positively impacts their lives. Promoting inclusive and sustainable growth is a key strategic priority for BBVA,” said BBVA's Chair.
Colombian entrepreneur (served by Bancamía) Florinda Chávez handcrafts hats together with her daughter, accompanied by their microfinance officer
The BBVA Microfinance Foundation is a non-profit organization created by BBVA in 2007 as part of its corporate social responsibility to support people under vulnerable conditions.. Its objective is to promote the economic and social development of these entrepreneurs. In its 15 years of activity, its microfinance institutions in five Latin American countries have disbursed more than €14 billion in loans to low-income entrepreneurs. Thus, for the third consecutive year, it is the second foundation in the world in terms of its contribution to development, after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the first in Latin America, according to data recently published by the OECD.
Innovation is part of the DNA of the Foundation, which for years has been driving the digital transformation of the microfinance sector with initiatives such as the promotion of digital channels, thanks to microfinance officers who visit entrepreneurs in their homes or workplaces using a mobile device that features all the functionality of a bank branch. They can also operate with cash in small stores that act as branches and, finally, with an adapted 'app' (as easy to use as instant messaging) that allows them to carry out their operations using their cell phones, avoiding time-consuming and costly trips. The Foundation is also one of the most advanced players in the use of biometrics and digital signature solutions.
Innovation is in the Foundation´s DNA and for years has been driving the digital transformation of the microfinance sector
Innovation is part of the DNA of the Foundation, which for years has been driving the digital transformation of the microfinance sector with initiatives such as the promotion of digital channels, thanks to advisors who visit entrepreneurs in their homes or workplaces carrying, on a mobile device, all the functionality of a bank branch. They can also operate with cash in small stores that act as branches and, finally, with an adapted 'app' (as easy to use as instant messaging) that allows them to carry out their operations using their cell phones, avoiding time-consuming and costly trips. The Foundation is also one of the most advanced players in the use of biometrics and digital signature solutions.
Aware of the importance of high-speed Internet access for development, the Foundation as well brings connectivity to remote areas and provides training programs in digital skills.
The BBVA Microfinance Foundation is a global benchmark in the field of social impact measurement. This year, in alliance with Oxford University's SOPHIA, it will present the first multidimensional poverty index for clients, which reflects educational, health and housing deprivations needs of the entrepreneurs it serves.
In the words of the Foundation's CEO, Javier M. Flores, “we study the poverty of entrepreneurs and this information is very valuable in designing our actions. This way we have a suitable value proposition for improving their housing, for access to decent and affordable health services, for their education and that of their children, and for access to connectivity with a level of digitization that allows them to improve their lives”.