Leveraging Inclusive Finance and Technology to Increase Resilience at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Abt Associates
Speaker: Thierry van Bastelaer, Principal Associate/Scientist – Abt Associates.
Thierry van Bastelaer is Principal Associate at Abt Associates, where he helps design and developthe company’s portfolio of private health finance activities. In addition to his work on healthinsurance and savings in Africa, Thierry is the founder and co-director of Abt’s Risk and Resilience Methods Center, and was named one of Abt’s Senior Fellows. Households living at the Base of the Pyramid demonstrate remarkable skills in dealing with the variety of risks that threaten their health and livelihoods on a daily basis. Too often, however, they are doing so without the benefit of financial tools that, if they were widely available, affordable and flexible, would dramatically decrease these families’ vulnerability and increase their long-term resilience. In particular, insurance products are struggling to keep pace with the increasing costs of health care and the effects of climate change on agriculture. van Bastelaer’s speech examined how a portfolio of inclusive financial products and services—such as commitment savings and microinsurance—are giving low-income families across the developing world more tools to ensure that shocks do not push them further into poverty. Using examples such as health savings, micro health insurance, and index-based weather insurance, he suggests how the combination of technology and financial services has the potential to give low-income families a stronger handle on their economic and personal well being.