Rising levels of inequality across the Asia-Pacific are having an adverse impact on the region’s poor and disadvantaged while also hindering opportunities for economic growth. The challenge of achieving inclusive growth is significant, however, the positive impact it can have on economic growth is equally substantial. As such, many governments across the region have recognised the need to adopt more resolute approaches to support inclusion in all of its forms – financial, economic and social.
FDC’s latest report, The Inclusion Imperative: A Call to Action, supports these efforts by exploring priority issues, highlighting key trends and proposing specific recommendations to assist policy makers and regulators in creating more inclusive economies and societies. The report represents a “call to action” for stakeholders to combine their knowledge, resources and efforts to achieve equitable and sustainable outcomes through a more concrete dialogue on the institutional and legal reforms needed to make meaningful progress in support of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. Of the multiple themes or aspects of inclusive development which need to be examined, this report focuses primarily on the following topics:
- Realising the full potential of financial inclusion
- The economic potential of women
- Opportunities to utilise digital technology
- Driving economic growth through nano, micro and small enterprises (NMSEs)
- The importance of regional integration and cooperation
The recommendations in this report are the result of the discussions and contributions of participants of two major policy initiatives implemented by FDC in 2018; namely the Asia-Pacific Financial Inclusion Forum (Tokyo, 27-28 June) and the Mekong Inclusive Growth Forum (Bangkok, 2-3 October). Both Forums were convened as part of the Financial Inclusion Policy Initiative of the APEC Finance Ministers’ Process, which FDC has led since its inception in 2010, under the auspices of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The Forums and the development of this report were made possible through the support and contributions of FDC’s partners including Appui au Développement Autonome (ADA), the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), Banking with the Poor (BWTP), the Thailand Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund’s SHIFT ASEAN Programme which is supported by the Australian Government.
The Inclusion Imperative II Forum will be held in Tokyo in partnership with ADBI from September 4-5, 2019 and advances the themes and insights incorporated in this report.