February 23, 2024

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ADB, IMF, and BSP examine how new technologies can improve financial inclusion in Asia

ADB

The Asian
Development Bank (ADB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and Bangko
Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) have co-hosted
a seminar
during ADB’s 51st Annual Meeting in Manila,
Phillippines, to discuss how new technologies can improve financial inclusion
in Asia.

The
lack of access to financial services is widely viewed as a key challenge for
Asia’s poor households and smaller firms. About 2 billion people in the world
still do not have access to finance and half of them live in Asia and the
Pacific.

The
seminar noted that while the region has made important progress in expanding
and deepening its financial systems, it must also make further progress to
improve financial inclusion using new financial technologies.

According to ADB President Mr Takehiko Nakao, governments in
the region can improve financial inclusion by broadening access to basic
digital infrastructure and providing an enabling environment for innovators and
entrepreneurs.

“Policymakers should also consider ways to improve regulations,
including protecting consumers against cybercrimes and fraud, while striking
the right balance between innovation and financial stability,” said Mr Nakao.

ADB has been supporting many fintech initiatives in developing Asia. To lead efforts to promote and further mainstream digital technology in ADB projects and programs, ADB established a new Digital Technology for Development Unit within the Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department in March 2018.

The panel discussion took place at the seminar was titled “New
Technologies in Finance: Opportunities and Challenges for Asia”. Panellists included
IMF Deputy Managing Director Mr Mitsuhiro Furusawa, BSP Governor Mr Nestor
Espenilla, Chair Professor at Korea National Diplomatic Academy Mr Oh-Seok
Hyun, and Director of Social Impact and Public Regulatory Affairs for the IOTA
Foundation Ms Julie Maupin.

Panelists discussed how fintech, including new innovations
like distributed ledger technologies, virtual currencies, machine learning, and
big data, can improve financial inclusion.

“Fintech can help foster financial inclusion in Asia by its
ability to reach rural areas, making financial services more affordable, and
broadening access to small and medium-sized firms,” said IMF Deputy Managing
Director Mr Furusawa.

“Financial regulators will play a crucial role in creating
an environment that promotes financial inclusion while mitigating the risks,”
he said.

Seminar participants also agreed that new technologies hold
promise for bringing financial services to poorer communities and for
overcoming the challenge of obtaining the collateral needed to access formal
credit markets.

They also agreed that international financial institutions
such as the IMF and ADB can play a significant role in supporting countries as
new technologies are introduced.

“There will always be a trade-off or a healthy tension
between security and convenience as well as efficiency and financial integrity.
That is why the BSP has established a regulatory environment that allows
innovations to flourish, at the same time ensures that risks are effectively
managed,” said BSP Governor Mr Espenilla.

“BSP’s regulatory approach is shaped by three core
principles—ensure that regulation is risk-based, proportionate, and fair;
maintain active multi-stakeholder collaboration; and ensure consumer protection,”
he added.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

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SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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