Opportunities for UK exporters
Next month, I’ll be attending CLEIF, the Latin American conference on financial inclusion and financial education, here in Uruguay. Speaking to the organisers, it’s clear that the event, which expects about 300 attendees and has some renowned speakers confirmed, is attracting huge interest from across the region, and most of the participants are expected to come from other countries such as Colombia, Peru and Chile. The event is organised by BROU, Uruguay’s main bank, an organisation worth getting to know if you’re planning on doing business in Uruguay.
But what opportunities does financial inclusion across Latin America offer overseas companies? Let’s take a look at just four:
1- electronic payment systems
Probably the first opportunity that comes to mind when discussing financial inclusion worldwide relates to electronic payment systems (and everything they entail). In Latin America, electronic payment systems are particularly important for financial inclusion goals to be successful in remote areas and for people with relatively low levels of literacy.
2- regulatory and compliance consultancy
As more people become “financially included”, regulatory pressures on governments and compliance pressures on those who serve the industry increase dramatically. This “enabling environment for financial inclusion”, which the EIU (Economist Intelligence Unit) explores in details in a 2014 report, is absolutely critical, and expertise from all over the world is much needed.
Accessing funds is key to financial inclusion, and that’s the role that microfinance is playing in Latin America. Supporting their design and delivery has fostered the development of regional providers such as bankingly, which provides omnichannel banking for microfinance and other institutions that can’t afford the time or cash it takes to acquire more traditional platforms used by large commercial banks.
“The total loan portfolio of more than 1000 microfinance institutions in Latin American and Caribbean, serving 20 million customers, rose to $40 billion at the end of 2012” IDB (Inter-American Development Bank)
The implications of financial inclusion for insurance are enormous. The potential for insurers as financial inclusion progresses in the region are mind-blowing. If you are an insurer or serve this market, Latin America is one continent to watch.
“Access to insurance as part of a financial inclusion strategy is a new concept in Latin America and the Caribbean. Insurance laws and policies in the region have not yet been adapted to the low-income market segment.” IDB/FOMIN
Next time we’ll cover some tips on how to tackle Latin American markets and then we’ll discuss financial education. For now, if you’re interested in financial inclusion or financial education in Latin America, consider attending CLEIF with a professionally-design market visit schedule that can also include other countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile or Paraguay (main cities only 3 hours away from Uruguay’s capital). There’s lots of business to be done in the region and the time is now.
If you are interested in attending CLEIF, you’ll find the programme online as well as the costs. Get in touch if you need our support in making the most of your visit to Uruguay, we’ll make sure that you get a chance to speak to key people and find out the information that will really make a difference. Felaban (Federation of Latin American Banks) also organises CLAB (which takes place in Lima earlier in September), focused on fintech.