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Financial Inclusion, Regulation and Education

Event | 11 - 12 November 2015 Jakarta, Indonesia

Purpose

This policy dialogue is designed to facilitate information exchange and impart knowledge to high level officials of various developing member countries on current issues and developments in the field of financial inclusion and income inequality.

Background

Financial inclusion is increasingly recognized as among the most important potential contributors to sustainable and fair economic and financial development. It has been listed as high priority by leading multilateral organizations including the Asian Development Bank which has over 120 projects prioritizing this target waiting in the pipeline. Efforts that extend financial services to those without should help households to smooth consumption, increase savings, and ease cash shortages. SMEs with more access to finance would gain a potentially important source of investment that facilitates better competitiveness and integration into international trade networks.

While regional financial development and integration in Asia has been progressing, there remains far more to be done, especially in Asia where 55% of the world’s unbanked adults reside. In 16 countries, the number of individuals without an account at a formal financial institution, the most prevalent measure of financial inclusion, rises above 50% of the population. A particularly important aspect to consider is the role of financial inclusion in alleviating income inequality. There is increasing evidence that lack of access to financial services represents a significant barrier to income opportunities and economic welfare of individuals. Evidence also suggests that 83.3 per cent of global wealth is concentrated in only 8.4 per cent of the global population who have more access to financial services.

Although Asia has made great strides in reducing poverty rates, income inequality persists and has even increased recently in some countries. There is also evidence that growth is becoming less inclusive and has been less pro-poor than is optimal. Specific programs, designed around poverty alleviation and inclusive growth, have been implemented that directly address this issue but this has seen only mixed success in emerging Asia. On the face of it, financial inclusion targets inequality fundamentally, as access to formal finance increases access to opportunities. With more efficient finance mechanisms, households and small firms should have the opportunity to maximize their potential.

While this is intuitive, it is underexplored territory and so high-level policy dialogues are required to better understand the impacts, and help governments develop their financial policy strategy to better achieve income inequality reduction. Thus, this regional conference: Income Inequality and Inclusive Finance in Asia: Constraints, Challenges and Policy Options, is being organized to provide an opportunity for policy makers to better understand current trends in income inequality globally and regionally, and how financial inclusion strategies can serve as tools for lowering income inequality in Asia. The event is spread over two days. The first day addresses the issue of income equality in general. This involves an overview of its state in emerging Asia and how it impacts quality growth. The event will also address and evaluate the impact of existing policy efforts. The second day is a discourse on financial inclusion as applied to income equality.

Objectives

Issues on income inequality and financial inclusion are strongly relevant to the ADBI’s thematic priorities in the area of poverty reduction and inclusive growth. The conference is envisioned as a high-level policy dialogue to address financial inclusion as a tool to alleviate income inequality. This will help promote inclusive growth and poverty reduction.

Participants

High-level officials holding various positions involved with financial inclusion policy and strategy.

Participant responsibilities

Active participation in discussions, share views and experiences, engage in networking, and collaborate to strategize new approaches and understandings. Participants will also be asked to give presentations on their country practices.

Output

  • Better awareness and enhanced capacity of Asian countries in understanding currents trends in income inequality in Asia and the relationship between financial inclusion and income inequality.
  • Enhanced dialogue and networking among government agencies, international organizations and the private sector on key issues related to income inequality, assessment of income inequality and poverty reduction programs, and policies and strategies to reduce inequality and achieve inclusive finance.
  • Promotion of good governance and innovative policies on relevant aspects of inclusive finance.
  • Country reports and presentation materials on income inequality and financial inclusion.

How to register

By invitation only.

Language

English

Partners

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

Time of event

9:30 - 17:30