The rise of digital technologies in recent years has had a significant impact on financial inclusion. The changes technology introduces have become a focal point for governments, business and financial inclusion practitioners as they seek to bring about the benefits it promises while also mitigating new risks. The attention given to the gains being made through technology innovation is leading many stakeholders to take a deeper look at what financial inclusion is meant to achieve. In particular, whether the growing access and usage of financial products and services are translating into increased resilience, opportunity and wellbeing for those at the bottom of the pyramid.
The 2019 Asia-Pacific Financial Inclusion Forum (APFIF) was convened by the Foundation for Development Cooperation in partnership with the Asian Development Bank Institute, Banking with the Poor network and the APEC Business Advisory Council in response to the APEC Finance Ministers request for concrete actions to expand the reach of financial services to the underserved.
APFIF explored the nexus between technology and impact by addressing two themes: the creation of digital ecosystems within economies and building an understanding of what makes financial inclusion a driver of inclusive growth and development. Senior government officials and industry experts presented and discussed these themes leading to six key recommendations for senior official’s and Finance Minister’s consideration in areas such as innovation, consumer protection, infrastructure and investment, data protection and privacy, promoting consumer uptake of financial products and services, supporting client learning and informed decision making, and capital flows to support income-generating activities.
The full report and recommendations are available to download here.