BEIJING, July 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 at the beginning of this year has taken unprecedented tolls on people's lives and global economy. The prolonged interruption in consumption and production has resulted in severe economic contraction and massive job losses worldwide, and the social inequality has further aggravated the social conflict. To face the challenges brought by the worst recession since World War II, many Asian countries have attached increasing importance to the role of financial inclusion in serving the real economy, supporting micro-, small & medium enterprises (MSMEs), creating jobs, reducing poverty, protecting vulnerable groups and alleviating social contradictions. In recent years, the development of financial inclusion in Asia has reached or surpassed the average world level.
The term "financial inclusion" or "inclusive finance" was first proposed by the United Nations in 2005 "International Year of Microcredit", referring to a state in which all people with financial needs have access to a full suite of quality financial services, provided at affordable prices, in a convenient manner, and with dignity for the clients. The concept has since attracted widespread attention from organizations and countries around the world and hence been continuously developed and refined.
In the past, traditional financial inclusion services mainly focused on availability and cost of credits obtained by MSMEs and households. But now, thanks to the rapid adoption of digital technology, digital financial inclusion not only greatly extends the service radius of financial businesses, but also broadens the categories of the services to a much larger extent, from account opening, payments, deposits, wealth management to loans, insurance and even commodity futures trading. The basic and upgraded financial needs are all covered, and can almost be executed through mobile phones while staying at home. Amidst social distancing caused by the Pandemic, digital financial inclusion has demonstrated strong advantages. It is expected that, after the pandemic, clients will be more adapted to contact-free financial services, and their digitization will be further accelerated.
To further promote the development of financial inclusion in Asia, the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) and the Asian Financial Cooperation Association (AFCA) jointly held the "Roundtable on Ecosystem Building and Digital Development of Financial Inclusion in Asia" and launched the BFA flagship report "Asian Financial Development Report on Financial Inclusion" on July2 in Beijing, with support of Institute of Digital Finance (IDF) of Peking University. This report reviews the developmental experiences of financial inclusion in Asian countries and introduces "Asian Index of Financial Inclusion Ecosystem (AIFIE)" for the first time. The index is compiled with data from the World Bank and the World Economic Forum, and it objectively evaluates the comprehensive situation of the financial inclusion ecosystem in 27 Sample Asian countries from the 6 perspectives of "Business Environment and Government Efficiency", "Economic and Financial Environment", "Access to credit", "Digital Infrastructure", "Financial Consumer Literacy", "Current Development of Inclusive Finance". According to the overall index, high performers based on the index include Singapore, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, China, Thailand, Bahrain, and Kazakhstan, etc.
The report also shares the experience and practical cases of Asian countries in developing financial inclusion, such as China's efforts in national strategy, monetary credit supply, fiscal and tax policies, governance framework and institutional capacity; Cambodia's achievements in constructing the credit registration system; Mongolia and South Korea's efforts in promoting financial literacy, insurance awareness, and protection of the people; Japan is a three-dimension policy financing supply system formed by the Japan Finance Corporation (JFC), the Credit Guarantee Corporation (CGC), and the Shoko Chukin Bank; Cambodia CBC Credit Information System; India UPI Electronic Payment System; China Utilizing Moveable Assets in SMEs Financing, etc.
BFA Vice Chairman Mr. ZHOU Xiaochuan, Nobel Prize Winner Professor Muhammad Yunus and other important representatives from the industry and academia attended the event.
Full report download:
The Boao Forum for Asia is a non-government and non-profit international organization jointly initiated by 29 countries. It is committed to promoting regional cooperation in Asia and pooling positive energy for the development of Asia and the world.