Webinar – What’s next for Blockchain and Microfinance?

The Financial Inclusion Forum, in partnership with VisionFund and BitPesa, presents:


What’s next for Blockchain and Microfinance?

Exploring the intersection between technology and social impact


20th of June 2017

4-5pm UK Time

Online event

Webex link will be shared upon registration


Blockchain, Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency. In the financial inclusion community, we have been excited by the potential of new technology and its ability to increase access in the markets we serve.

But what is this technology? How will it benefit the poor? Does it indeed have the potential to transform financial inclusion? What arethe implications for microfinance clients?


Join two expert speakers for this online event to discuss new financial technology and its consequences. Charlene Chen is the COO of BitPesa, a digital F/X platform that leverages Blockchain technology to significantly lower the cost of remittances and business payments to, from and within sub-Saharan Africa. Johanna Ryan is the Director of Social Performance at VisionFund International, one of the world’s largest microfinance networks. Focused on reaching rural markets, VisionFund is using technology to fulfil its mission.


Charlene will be leading the technical discussion, with Johanna providing a perspective from the field. The event will be conducted on layman’s terms, so even if financial inclusion technology isn’t your specialist area, you are encouraged to attend.


Please pass this information to anyone in your network who may be interested in attending.



Charlene Chen, COO, BitPesa

Charlene Chen currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of BitPesa (www.bitpesa.co), a digital F/X platform that leverages Blockchain technology to significantly lower the cost of remittances and business payments to, from and within sub-Saharan Africa. Charlene has over 10 years of private sector and social sector experience working with a variety of organisations ranging from internet start-ups to Fortune 500 companies (Microsoft, Eli Lilly) to international non-profits (Grameen Foundation, TechnoServe, KickStart International). She began her career as an IT consultant at Deloitte Consulting, but during business school made a career shift to focus on social entrepreneurship and ICTD (Information and Communication Technologies for Development) in sub-Saharan Africa. Charlene has worked in Gabon, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia and Nigeria. She holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California – Berkeley and a B.S. in Psychology and Computer Science from Duke University.


Johanna Ryan, Director of Social Performance, VisionFund

As part of WorldVision, VisionFund’s staff are motivated to create hope for the most vulnerable children in the world. As Director of Social Performance, Johanna measures and evaluates VisionFund’s products and services, making sure provision is focused to maximise real transformation of communities and individuals.

Through over 1.2 million clients, VisionFund impacted the lives of 4.4 million children in 2016. This is measured through child wellbeing benefits such as sufficient food, improved education, additional clothes/shoes and covering health costs. Johanna leads efforts to measure and report this impact.

With VisionFund since 2009, Johanna has had a wide-ranging career that includes a stint as a tutor at Oxford and university lecturer in Texas and18 years in global bank operations.

Location: Virtual

Date: Tuesday, June 20, 2017