The Albanian Microfinance Association organized on November 25, 2020, an online event in the form of a video conference on the topic: “Albanian Microfinance in the New Normality: Weathering the Storm”. This Conference is organized on the occasion of the European Day of Microfinance and activities across the continent that are organized to promote microfinance and its role as a major supporter of the needy and enablers of social and financial inclusion.
In this event was discussed about the current issues of the sector, the challenges it has faced or is facing in the sustainable provision of services to customers, as well as opportunities and solutions that appear on the horizon to successfully overcome these challenges. Microfinance is the backbone of financial services provided to the needy, so every effort should be made to provide these segments with sustainable access to finance.
Speakers in the event were representatives from the Ministry of Finance and Economy, representatives from the Bank of Albania, the Financial Supervision Authority, the World Bank, the Albanian Banking Association, the Albanian Securities Exchange (ALSE), as well as international social finance promotion networks, such as the Center for Microfinance (MFC).
In his addressing as a keynote speaker, the Chief Executive Officer of the Albanian Securities Exchange (ALSE), Mr. Artan Gjergji, was focused at the main word common in all international financial markets: access to finance. This need is not only for SMEs but also for microfinance financial institutions themselves, which are faced with difficulties in finding cheap sources of financing.
Within this respect, Mr. Gjergji was focused mainly at the opportunities and incredible potential provided by capital markets to the domestic microfinance institutions, which can rise funds through securities issuance. This is not only a cheaper way of financing compared to the traditional ones, but also give to microfinance institutions the opportunity to be more present as well as more close to the investing public, giving a strong contribution to the need for financial education and financial inclusion in the country. Likewise, Mr. Gjergji stressed out the chances provided by capital market and exchange listing for the microfinance to increase the business volume in developing country economy such as Albania. A strong advantage in this respect is considered the fact that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic effects, based on the statistical data provided by the Albanian Association of Banks, the level of time deposits in the banking sector has reached the level of 10.4 billion EUR, presenting an extraordinary potential of free funds in the market.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Gjergji draw the attention of participants that rising capital through debt securities issuing and Exchange listing process will help microfinance institutions to better improve the financing discipline, budgeting and reporting, as well as will further increase their transparency in front of public, being in the same line with the best practices of Corporate Governance Principles.