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International development

Proxfin members meet in Lévis to discuss the essential role of economic empowerment in development

November 6, 2023

On October 25, 90 DID representatives and partners, including nearly 40 Proxfin representatives from some 20 countries, met to discuss the key role played by inclusive finance institutions in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

For the first time in 18 years, the annual meeting of the international Proxfin network was held in Lévis, the birthplace of Desjardins Group.


Economic empowerment: at the heart of inclusive and sustainable development

Opening the seminar, Silvia Baur-Yazbeck, Financial Sector Specialist at CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), highlighted the crucial link between financial inclusion, development and the resilience that individuals and communities must acquire in the face of the multiple crises they must confront.

Réal Bellemare, Senior Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of Desjardins Group, then presented Desjardins' approach to putting finance at the service of inclusive and sustainable development.

Finally, four roundtables enabled participants to exchange views and experiences on how inclusive finance institutions can help promote sustainable agriculture and food security, climate action, health, education and the creation of decent jobs.


Inspiring visits


On the sidelines of this full-day seminar, visits were organized to the Desjardins caisse in Lévis and to two businesses in the region that benefited from the support of Desjardins and its partner MicroEntreprendre: a boutique selling second-hand children's clothing and toys, and a grocery store selling bulk food and household products.

These meetings enabled the two passionate entrepreneurs to present the ecological and innovative approach associated with their business model. Finally, Proxfin members were able to visit the Desjardins mobile caisse, a bus that offers advice and services to remote or reduced-mobility customers. These visits were marked by a warm welcome and enthusiastic exchanges.


About Proxfin 


Created in 2006, Proxfin is an international network that enables its 32 members, DID-partner inclusive finance institutions, to share their vision, best practices and innovations. Coming from 21 countries, Proxfin member institutions together reach over 20 million people, half of whom are women.