2016 Asia-Pacific Forum on Financial Inclusion: Financial Inclusion in a Digital Age

Event | 7 - 8 April 2016
ADBI, Tokyo, Japan

Purpose

This policy dialogue is designed to give high-level policy makers a venue to discuss important issues in cutting-edge finance to help provide the opportunity to bolster the capacity of emerging economies to meet their goals in financial inclusion.

Background

The 2016 Asia-Pacific Forum on Financial Inclusion is hosted by the Asian Development Bank Institute and co-organized with the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), and the Foundation for Development Cooperation (FDC), in partnership with the Citi Foundation. The policy dialogue brings together participants from the public and private sectors, including financial regulators and policy makers, multilateral institutions, financial institutions and related market players, microfinance institutions, financial inclusion experts, industry organizations, and private foundations. By providing a platform for high-level dialogue among policy makers and regulators across the region, the policy dialogue aims to strengthen their capacity as well as provide specific points of advice for policy-related issues impacting financial inclusion in the region.

Important topics facing the financial industry today include the ability to attain quality information for the sake of lending decisions. Credit bureaus and insurance both play a role in the expansion of lending in emerging economies. Quality information from better information repositories leads to better risk management. However, inclusive insurance requires a paradigm shift from regulators, insurers, and everyone else in the insurance chain.

Another important part in financial inclusion is expanding the capacity to facilitate cross-border transactions. Against this background, this event will also focus on beyond-the-border policies and regulations that inadvertently drive up the cost of operations for banks, financial institutions, and money transfer organizations, which are eventually passed on to end-customers. The policy dialogue will also look to introduce case studies about emerging services that circumvent current inefficiencies in the system and are succeeding in making the remittances and cross-border payments work for the poor and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.

Encouraging financial access is just one part of the equation. Governments need to learn how best to mobilize savings for productive purposes and to see how financial inclusion fits within the larger fiscal picture. Furthermore, it is important to cultivate a population that knows how to use finance effectively. To foster access and make best use of financial services, it is critical that individuals, households, and small enterprise owners understand financial concepts, transaction procedures, risks, and liabilities. This need is heightened by recent developments in digital finance, which provide an opportunity to increase access among the financially excluded. The session will discuss approaches that can be supported by governments to deliver financial education as a means to increase financial literacy.

Lastly, digital finance has been expanding in many parts of the world, including in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region, and has substantially contributed to promoting financial inclusion for the unbanked poor although its potential has not been fully exploited. In parallel with its success, various consumer risks, especially to the poor and vulnerable, have been researched. The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) identified seven risk areas:

  • Inability to transact due to network/service downtime
  • Insufficient agent liquidity or float, which also affects ability to transact
  • User interfaces that many find complex and confusing
  • Poor customer recourse
  • Nontransparent fees and other terms
  • Fraud that targets customers
  • Inadequate data privacy and protection.

Without proper mitigation measures against these risks, digital financial services will not fully benefit the poor in terms of access, usage, and quality of services. This event also discusses lessons learned on consumer protection measures in relation to digital finance, as well as the challenges ahead. It will look at the implications for customers, digital finance providers, and policy makers more specifically.

Objectives

  • Increase the capacity of policy makers in emerging economies through comprehensive coverage and discussion of important themes in contemporary financial developments
  • Assist in the creation of plans that respond to and take advantage of current financial trends for the purpose of financial inclusion
  • Opportunity for business leaders and high-level policy makers to network

Participants

Approximately 100 high-level government officials and banking sector employees.

Output

  • A greater understanding of contemporary banking and how it relates to financial inclusion
  • How banks and economies should respond and adopt these forces for the purpose of financial inclusion and other developmental goals in finance
  • A strengthened network between banking officials and government finance regulators in emerging Asian countries

How to register

By invitation only.

Language

English

Partners

APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and The Foundation for Development Cooperation (FDC)

Time of event

09:00 - 18:00