The Microfinance Lunch Break is a biannual event in Brussels to keep the financial sector in Belgium up to date with news from the world of microfinance and microinsurance.


The next edition will take place on 17 th of October 2014.

Guestspeaker will be Michael McCord, President of the Microinsurance Centre on the topic: "Client value or business case? Finding the magical balance in microinsurance".

What’s the value of microinsurance for low income clients in developing countries and the business case for insurers, distributors, and intermediaries? Based on analysis of over 2 dozen insures and interviews with clients of 15 microinsurance programs in 11 countries, Michael McCord, President of the MicroInsurance Centre, will lead us to cutting edge insights and practical answers to these intriguing questions.

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After transparency… how to define Responsible Pricing?

Five years ago, the microfinance industry knew little to nothing about the prices charged in microfinance. We now have more transparent prices, based on consistent definitions and formulas. And the results are surprising in many ways, showing an extremely wide range of prices charged.

Why are prices so different between countries, and among the MFIs in the same country?  Why do some countries have large portions of the market paying true prices of 100% and more?

Guestspeaker: Chuck Waterfield, CEO & Founder MicroFinance Transparency, Pennsylvania, USA

Interest rates in microfinance - abuse or necessity?

Microfinance has very often been criticized due to its high interest rates. The interest rates in microfinance are indeed generally higher than those of the banks.

Are these interest rates which seem exorbitant justified? Is a reduction achievable for the granters of credit? Do clients get value for money? What’s a fair interest rate? How is the microfinance sector evolving?

Debate with Marek Hudon, Professor SBC-EM / ULB and Aldo Moauro, Executive Director Microfinanza Rating.  Moderator: Kurt Moors, programme coordinator BRS.

Microfinance as impact investing: but what impact?

Impact investing is the new kid on the investment block. The term is brand new, but the practice it refers to already exists for quite some time. Microfinance, for that matter, can be seen as an established form of impact investing avant la lettre. It is assumed to make a positive contribution to societal change. Impact investing diferentiates from previous attempts to combine investments and social, environmental, cultural or other non-financial outcomes in two ways: it also attracts investments aimed at market-rate returns, and it attempts to measure impact in a systematic way.


Prof. Dr Harry Hummels focused on the importance of impact measurement from the viewpoint of a forward-looking investor with a special attention to microfinance. He also commented on the future of microfinance as an impact investment branch.

Microinsurance – Distribution approaches that reach the poor

Working poor live with substantial risk and face devastating circumstances when those risks become reality. Global insurance markets have ample capital - both financial and intellectual - to ultimately insure the assets and income of the working poor. Nonetheless, demand and supply are not adequately aligned. Increasingly, new methods of distributing and offering insurance are proving successful. These include via mobile phone, through supply chains of global corporations, with informal "agents", and even as lottery tickets.
Brandon Mathews is a Board Member of the Microinsurance Network and facilitates its Distribution Working Group. He is also on the board of the ILO’s Microinsurance Innovation Facility and is the former Head of Emerging Consumer / Microinsurance at Zurich Insurance Group. Mr. Mathews shared his insights on innovative microinsurance distribution models at the seventh Microfinance Lunch Break on October 19th in Brussels.

Click here to download the conference report and watch the full video coverage.

Governance for Microfinance: the cooperative benchmark?

In microfinance, corporate governance is often stressed both as a major risk and as a field where improvements are required. In practice, however, these "calls for action" are rarely developed and, like many other sectors, microfinance lacks clear frameworks for analysing how corporate governance is implemented and how it could be improved.

The presentation of Marc Labie, Associate Professor at the University of Mons (UMONS), aimed at clarifying these questions contrasting the case of savings and credit cooperatives with other types of microfinance institutions. An interesting debate at the start of the UN International Year of Cooperatives.


Click here to watch the full video coverage. 

Watch the french subtitled video below.


Investments and subsidies: Matching the funding needs of microfinance? 

Over the past two years, microfinance has to some extent been a victim of its own success. Is this the result of inappropriate or too much funding? Is there a link between too much funding and the bad microfinance practices that have emerged recently, like for example in India? Is there an imbalance between the amount of investments and donor funding within the sector that exacerbates the problem? And how can investments and donor funding play a better role in strengthening the sector?


Portfolios of the poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day

The groundbreaking book Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day examines the cash flow of almost 300 households among the poorest of the world. The result is a humanising insight into the economic lives of the global poor, and a valuable resource for attempting to improve those lives, especially through microfinance institutions.

Jonathan Morduch, co-author of the book, was the keynote speaker at the fourth Microfinance Lunch Break, organised by ADA, BRS, Cera, KBC on February 21 in Brussels.



Click here to download the conference report and watch the full video coverage.


Microinsurance: Innovating risk coping mechanisms

Low-income households in the South face many risks, still, few have access to formal insurance. Innovative protection mechanisms are being developed for people with little or no coverage from formal protection systems. 

Craig Churchill is chair of the Microinsurance Network and the head of the ILO's Microinsurance Innovation Facility, launched in 2008 with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Mr Churchill offered his perspective on microinsurance at the third Microfinance Lunch Break on September 28, 2010 in Brussels.


Click here to download the conference report or watch the full video coverage.

Regulation in Microfinance

Is a rush to regulate taking place in the microfinance sector? Is it necessary to introduce a specific regulation framework for microfinance institutions, and what are the advantages and limitations of - or indeed the obstacles to - such regulation?
Mr Eric Ekué, expert on regulation in microfinance and former manager of the Decentralised Financial Systems of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), tackled these questions during the second Microfinance Lunch Break on February 25, 2010 in Brussels.  


Click here to download the conference report. Or watch the entire event online

Is microfinance being affected by the financial crisis?

Is the world-wide financial crisis impacting the microfinance sector? Are microfinance institutions from developing countries facing problems as a result of this global crisis? And what lessons must investors learn from this? These were the key questions tackled during the first Microfinance Lunch Break organised by ADA, BRS, Cera, KBC and Febelfin in Brussels on February 10, 2009.

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