Financial regulation in Asian countries often only protects people who have access to the formal banking industry. The APEC Financial Inclusion Work Group aims to improve regulatory frameworks in an inclusive manner that encourages innovation and delivers more universal protection.
In the mid-1990s, FDC’s work on promoting development cooperation and partnerships within APEC was formally acknowledged by the APEC Senior Official’s Chair. Following these early efforts, APEC has progressively adopted a wider agenda, incorporating non-trade issues. In 2010, FDC’s contributions through the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) resulted in the APEC Finance Ministers launching an official Financial Inclusion Initiative to “identify concrete actions that financial policy makers can take to expand the reach of financial services to the underserved.” Today, FDC continues to progress this issue by leading an informal working group established within APEC to facilitate collaborative dialogue and action across the public, private and academic sectors to ensure a holistic approach to the development of the region’s financial industry and achieve greater financial inclusion.
Asia Pacific Forum on Financial Inclusion
The Asia-Pacific Forum on Financial Inclusion has been hosted annually, following the successful initial Forum in Sapporo, Japan and the endorsement of its regular convening by the APEC Finance Ministers at their 2010 annual meeting in Kyoto. The Forum is a policy initiative under the APEC Finance Ministers’ Process that is entrusted to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). It is co-organized by ABAC, the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) and FDC, with sponsorship support from the Citi Foundation and is coordinated through the Advisory Group on APEC Financial System Capacity Building. Participants of the Forum include a wide range of stakeholders, including representatives from the public and private sectors; financial regulators and policy makers; multilateral institutions; financial institutions and related market players; microfinance institutions; financial inclusion experts; industry organizations and private foundations. The Forum provides an opportunity for stakeholders to review the current trends, recent achievements, ongoing challenges and opportunities relative to financial inclusion in the region. By providing this platform for high-level dialogue amongst policy makers and regulators across the region, the Forum aims to strengthen their capacity as well as provide priority recommendations for policy related issues impacting financial inclusion.
As a primary outcome of the annual Forum, FDC produces a report summarising the discussions and providing specific policy recommendations. These reports and their recommendations are submitted each year to the APEC Finance Ministers and other important stakeholders for their consideration and action. Download these reports here.