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FEATURE STORY April 4, 2019

Financial Systems in the Era of Data and Technology: WBG Course equips practitioners with knowledge to create new opportunities for financial sector development

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"I was specifically excited about the caliber of participants from virtually all the continents of the world. The program covers some areas of interest relating to my job such as financial inclusion, digital finance, fintech, financial literacy and host of others. This positively impacted on my job and improved my productivity."
Dr. Nurudeen A. Zauro
Technical Advisor on Digital Financial Services at the Central Bank of Nigeria

The Overview Course of Financial Sector Issues, organized every year by the World Bank Group, has become a well-known forum for knowledge-sharing among practitioners in the financial sector. Now in its 16th year, the course is being offered from June 24-28 in partnership with the George Washington University.

Finance of Tomorrow: New Opportunities, New Risks

This year’s course focuses on the theme Financial Systems in the Era of Data and Technology. It aims to provide client members with some of the latest thinking in the field in a rapidly changing digital economy.

It is undeniable that the increasing role of data and technology in the financial sector has led to changes in financial inclusion and financial access. According to data from the World Bank Group, around 1.2 billion adults have become bank account owners as technological advances have improved access to finance in urban and rural areas. Accountholders are likely to use other financial services to improve their quality of life, such as applying for credit and insurance, starting businesses, and investing in education or health.

But the collapse of Lehman Brothers ten years ago also sparked a debate on the negative side of the financial sector and its regulation. Since then, the conventional rules of the game that were used to assess financial system vulnerabilities, manage systematic and idiosyncratic risks, and deal with failing financial institutions have changed. While transformation is happening at an expeditious pace, with emerging issues such as cybersecurity and data protection, regulators and policymakers must strike a delicate equilibrium between enabling an environment appropriate for financial innovations and addressing and managing associated risks.

The course will cover these issues and conclude with a discussion on pushing the frontier, highlighting how new technologies and more data can bring new opportunities for the healthy and sustainable development of the financial sector.

Knowledge Gained, Impacts Made

According to feedback, the course has successfully enriched the professional lives of participants through interactions with leading academics and practitioners, giving birth to a new network of motivated individuals from every corner of the world.

Emefa Sewordor, from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, who participated in last year’s course, said, “I learned a lot about the current and emerging issues and trends in the financial sector. It was good to have exposure to who was doing what kind of research in different areas”.

Dr. Nurudeen A. Zauro, Technical Advisor on Digital Financial Services at the Central Bank of Nigeria, chimed in, “I was specifically excited about the caliber of participants from virtually all the continents of the world.” “The program covers some areas of interest relating to my job such as financial inclusion, digital finance, fintech, financial literacy and host of others. This positively impacted on my job and improved my productivity”, he added.

These views capture the most important objective of the long-running course: that participants incorporate practices that will support an effective, sustainable, and responsible development of the financial sector in their home countries.

A Digitized Course Gazing into the Future

Since 2004, the course, organized by the Research Department and the Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation Global Practice, has provided more than 1,000 global policymakers from central banks, ministries of finance, the private sector and members of the academia with the essential tools to understand some of the most pressing contemporary topics in the financial sector, as well as to navigate through the rapidly-changing landscape.

By making the World Bank’s rigorous research and operational experiences available as actionable knowledge, the course has enabled participants to explore novel approaches to adapt to new situations, taking advantage of new opportunities, and overcoming rising challenges.

Following learning trends, the course has incorporated innovations in knowledge delivery to enhance the learning experience of participants. The course is entirely paperless, and attendees will receive materials through the course’s dedicated online and mobile applications. They will work with their peers in small groups using digital tools such as gamification and polling.

The future of this course also lies in partnerships. This year marks the course’s inaugural collaboration with the George Washington University School of Business, to share knowledge resources and to offer perspectives through an academic lens.

“We are delighted to support the World Bank’s efforts to provide a world class program,” said Shadi Abouzeid, Executive Director at The George Washington University. “We hope that participants will leave with enough foundations and knowledge to support their economy in light of the ongoing opportunities and changes we are faced with.”

The course is open for registration until May 31 at: http://cvent.com/d/lbq9l9



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