OECD-ADBI-BoL-GIZ Conference on Financial Literacy and Consumer Protection | Asian Development Bank

At the forefront of growth and development in Asia and the Pacific

OECD-ADBI-BoL-GIZ Conference on Financial Literacy and Consumer Protection

Event | 26 - 27 November 2018 Vientiane, Lao PDR
Time of event

08:30–17:00

Background

Financial inclusion is increasingly recognized as among the most important potential contributors to sustainable and inclusive economic development. It has been listed as an overt priority by leading multilateral organizations including the Asian Development Bank. Efforts that extend financial services to those without should help households smooth out consumption, increase savings, and ease cash shortages. With more access to finance, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) would gain a potentially important source of investment that facilitates better competitiveness, higher productivity, and integration into international trade networks.

Barriers to financial inclusion include ignorance of financial products and services, i.e., low financial literacy, and lack of trust. A particularly important dimension ripe for improvement is education, especially financial literacy. Programs to promote financial education can potentially raise the level of financial literacy. However, progress in many Asian economies is slow. Many countries do not have a formal national strategy for financial education nor a professional approach to assessing the financial literacy of the population, instead preferring to take an ad hoc approach. Lack of effective consumer protection is also a problem.

For financial inclusion to succeed, households and firms need not only access to appropriate financial products and services, but also affordable products and services with adequate consumer protection. Many households and firms in developing Asia are prone to risks of indebtedness and unfair commercial practices due to lack of consumer protection and responsible finance initiatives in many developing countries. Thus, an integral aspect of consumer protection is to ensure that pricing is transparent, non-discriminatory and non-exploitative, particularly for small businesses and poor households.

Recognizing these issues, a 2-day conference is being organized to discuss how to increase financial literacy and strengthen consumer protection to support financial inclusion in Southeast Asian economies, especially Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Viet Nam (CLMV) from a consumer and small business point of view, focusing on developing and implementing adequate financial consumer protection and national strategies for financial education in the digital age. This includes an assessment of the situation in terms of access, levels of financial literacy, and development of financial consumer protection frameworks. It includes an assessment of the overall situation, as well those of particular target audiences such as MSMEs, youth, the aged, and migrants.

One highlight will be to introduce the results of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) / International Network on Financial Education (INFE) Adult Financial Literacy survey for the Lao PDR which was conducted by ADBI.

Objectives
  • Promote discussion on how to increase financial literacy and strengthen consumer protection to support financial inclusion in the CLMV region
  • Contribute to the empirical literature and regional policy dialogue
  • Build the capacity of officials for understanding the issues related to financial inclusion, financial literacy, financial education, and consumer protection
Participants
  • Policy makers, think tank researchers, and academics
  • 140 persons including guest participants
Output
  • Various research papers, which will be considered for inclusion in ADBI’s working papers
How to register

By invitation only

Partners

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Bank of Lao PDR (BoL), and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ)