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 ADB. 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.
Unfortunately, while regional financial development and integration in Asia have been progressing, there remain far more to be done, especially in Asia where 55% of the world’s unbanked adults reside. In as many as 16 countries, the share of adults without an account at a formal financial institution, the most prevalent measure of financial inclusion, is more than 50%.
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. However, many Asian countries do not have a formal national strategy for financial education or even a professional approach to assessing the financial literacy of the population, instead preferring to take an ad hoc approach to such matters.
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 access to 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. 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.
The policy dialogue aims to support financial inclusion strategies of Southeast Asian economies, especially the CLMV countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam) 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.
To enhance the capacity of policy makers in ADB’s DMCs by increasing their knowledge about financial inclusion and promoting discussion on implementing consumer protection in the region through better privacy policies for them in Southeast Asia.
Government officials from the ministries of economy, finance, and other relevant agencies involved in financial inclusion policy making in Southeast Asian countries.
Attend all sessions and participate in discussions
- An assessment of the current status of financial inclusion in the region
- An assessment of the current levels of financial literacy and situation of financial education in the region
- An assessment of the current state of consumer protection in the region
- An assessment of ways to develop strategies to promote financial education and consumer protection to support financial inclusion
How to register
By invitation only.
OECD and State Bank of Viet Nam
Time of event
09:00 - 18:00Stay up to date Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest issues, news, events, jobs and data in your e-mail inbox.