Live Q&A: How do we build banks where none exist?

After decades of civil war, Somalia’s banking infrastructure is fragile. Much of the country turns to informal money brokers (hawalas) or money transfer organisations for banking services. over the last year, it showed how important a stronger banking network is for the country, especially as it receives more in remittances than aid.

Somalia is not the only country struggling with half-finished banking infrastructure. Before Burma’s military junta nationalised the banks in 1963, 14 foreign banks operated in the country, . Now, the number of branches per person is less than in Afghanistan or Haiti.

Building banks from scratch is not easy, as the world’s newest country South Sudan can attest to. Its largest bank, the Kenya Commercial Bank with 25 branches, was only feasible with .

But banks can help to . So, what can policymakers, regulators, NGOs and the private sector do encourage building banks that are secure, transparent, and work for low-income consumers? What work is needed to bring different players together? And what role can technology play, both for improving banks’ security and efficiency, but also for reaching their most remote customers?

Join an expert panel on Thursday 21 May, 1–3pm BST, to discuss these questions and more.


Rohini’s research examines the economic costs and benefits of informal and formal institutions and the role of public policy in affecting change.


A financial services analyst, Nick develops strategies for banking, private sector development and managing global regulatory requirements.


Ruth manages partnerships in branchless banking, mobile financial services, housing finance and youth financial services.


Lisa drives Grameen Foundation’s financial services strategy and oversees engagements with financial institutions and MNOs to reach the poor.


Robert is a political economist with over 35 years experience in financial sector development, at the policy and instiutional level.


Javier is a leading electronic money expert in Latin America.


Lauren is responsible for developing and implementing a strategy for increased financial inclusion for 30 million people in sub-Saharan Africa.


Thea designs and leads commercial initiatives for financial inclusion using market systems approach in complex and fragile settings.


Stephen covers southeast Asia for the ADB and supports banking and capital market development.


Sergio leads regional projects and research on financial inclusion in Latin America & Caribbean.

Source : theguardian[dot]com
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