On invitation of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), ADFIAP represented by its Secretary General, Mr. Octavio B. Peralta, attended an international workshop on “Promoting Financial Inclusion through Innovative Policies” from March 31 to April 3 at the ADB Institute in Tokyo.
84 participants from 33 countries participated in the event jointly organized by the Advisory Group on APEC Financial System Capacity-Building, ABAC, the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) and in collaboration with the Foundation for Development Cooperation (FDC), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The workshop provided a venue for a peer-to-peer learning and knowledge-sharing platform for policy makers, regulators, key experts and private sector leaders to stimulate further dissemination and development of innovative policies for an enabling environment for financial inclusion, particularly through microfinance. The workshop was also meant to form a basis for the design of a policy initiative on financial inclusion that will be proposed to the APEC finance ministers. The results of the workshop will be published in a report and distributed to relevant officials, particularly APEC finance ministers and senior finance officials as well as to regulators and influential private sector organizations in the Asia-Pacific region.
The workshop focused on six key policy solutions identified by AFI andadopted by ABAC and the Advisory Group on APEC Financial System Capacity-Building. The six solutions relate to: (1) agent banking (2) mobile phone banking (3) diversification of savings and insurance providers (4) the reform of public banks, (5) financial identity development for low-income clients and (6) consumer protection in financial services. These solutions have proven to be successful in increasing access to financial services in a number of economies, including some APEC member-economies such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand.
As a side event of the forum, ADFIAP was also invited to an informal brainstorming session on a possible APEC financial inclusion initiative. The small group closed-door meeting involved representatives from key institutions that are willing to provide financial and technical support for an APEC financial inclusion initiative as well as senior officials interested in collaborating with ABAC on this initiative. These institutions included AFI (the GTZ/Gates Foundation project), the ADB Institute, IFC, Inter-American Development Bank and FDC.