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Regional Conference on Postal Saving Systems in Asia: What We Know and What to Expect?

Event | 23 - 24 February 2016 ADBI, Tokyo, Japan

Purpose

This event is designed to facilitate information exchange and impart knowledge to high-level officials of various developing member countries on the most current and best practices in postal finance.

Background

Mobilizing domestic financial resources such as savings is crucial for Asia’s developing economies. Savings are important because they permit investment, which in turn increases the productive capacity of an economy. They also play a significant role in financial intermediation in a sense that savings funds intermediated in the banking system can be used as credit to finance many development activities in a country. Unfortunately, due to differing levels of financial sector development, access to financial services, such as credit, savings, and payment services, remain limited in developing Asia. For example, in 2014, only 36% of adults in East Asia and the Pacific have formal savings accounts and only 11% had access to formal credit.

Against this reality in Asia, there is a need to explore other strategies and to improve financial access, and in this regard, the role of postal networks is crucial. The more than 600,000 post offices worldwide provide rural populations with financial services, such as postal savings accounts, loans and insurance, and even money transfer services. Considering the potential of post offices to expand financial services in rural areas, the development of a postal saving system may be a good strategy for developing Asian countries to increase financial inclusion, reduce poverty, and achieve higher economic growth.

Since the first postal savings program began in Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the People’s Republic of China more than a century ago, postal savings systems have become a vehicle for promoting more balanced economic development in Asia by mobilizing savings and providing financial services to the poor and people on lower incomes. For example, in Japan, the postal savings system has long served the needs of the middle and low-income sectors and those people living in rural areas for financial services, and has provided financing for public capital investment. Post offices have also evolved as an important financial institution in many Asian countries as national savings banks in an effort to mobilize savings and other financial products.development which creates jobs and brings a better quality of life to the people in the region. In Central Asia, six economic corridors link the region’s economic hubs to each other and provide the landlocked countries access to Eurasian and global markets.

Perhaps one important aspect of the postal savings system is its potential contribution to financial inclusion. Unfortunately, such potential is yet to be realized due to limited understanding of the role that postal savings can play in domestic resource mobilization and as a viable alternative to traditional institutions (i.e., a formal banking system) for generating savings and providing access points to financial services.

Objectives

This regional conference is intended to highlight policy issues and Asian experiences in the use of postal infrastructure for savings mobilization. By looking at the experiences of various countries that have used the postal network as a gateway to greater access to financial services, this 2-day seminar will try to assess and discuss how postal savings systems can build savings and expand financial services, such as loans, insurance, remittance, and money transfer services in developing countries in Asia.

Participants

The seminar will bring together representatives from policy and regulatory agencies in Asia (e.g., ministries of finance, central banks, ministries of telecommunications) responsible for promoting and implementing postal saving systems and financial inclusion. ADBI will invite 28 government officials from 14 countries (Cambodia, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, the People’s Republic of China, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, and Viet Nam).

Participant responsibilities

Active participation in discussions, sharing of views and experiences, engaging in networking, and collaboration to strategize new approaches and understandings. Participants will also be asked to give presentations on their country practices.

Output

  • A better understanding and enhanced capacity of policy makers in developing strategies and policy recommendations concerning the implementation of postal savings systems.
  • Enhanced dialogue and networking among government agencies, international organizations, and the private sector to promote postal saving systems, financial inclusion, and savings mobilization.
  • Promotion of good governance policies and practices in postal financial inclusion and savings mobilization.
  • Produce country reports and presentation materials on the current state of savings mobilization, levels of financial inclusion, and the use of postal networks as a means to improve access to financial services in developing countries.

How to register

By invitation only.

Language

English

Time of event

9:30 - 17:30