Its first and continuing initiative, Banking with the Poor, trialled and promoted linkages between the formal and informal financial sectors as a means of increasing access to sustainable financial services by the huge numbers of people in our region traditionally excluded from the formal financial system. Its emphasis on linking with the formal financial sector was an early foreshadowing of the increasing recognition today that inclusive growth requires a dynamic ecosystem of financial system stakeholders.
While financial inclusion is a central theme, FDC has initiated programs and explored ideas in response to emerging challenges or opportunities in the region in other areas such as energy, remittances, regional cooperation, financing development, and information and communication technology for development.
E4ALL is a platform conceived by FDC and the Asian Development Bank in 2009 to provide access to clean and modern energy. In addition to concept development, FDC served as E4ALL’s first secretariat. The initiative successfully reached its initial goal of providing energy access to an additional 100 million people in the Asia-Pacific region in 2015.
Following the massive devastation of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, FDC engaged with microfinance clients and practitioners tp prepare a ‘best practice’ manual for industry stakeholders, covering pre- disaster risk mitigation and disaster preparedness, the role of microfinance in emergency relief situations, and the role of microfinance in livelihood restoration.
FDC developed a program for women villagers, community workers and emerging leaders to increase their knowledge of governance and leadership in the Pacific and support bottom-up governance initiatives by women in their local communities.
FDC facilitated the contributions of a distinguished group of observers in the early days of APEC, including the historical and institutional context to the emergence of development cooperation within APEC, as well as the issues relevant to future economic and technical cooperation among APEC members. The Chair of APEC Senior Officials acknowledged these contributions to the APEC process and to the Manila Declaration of 1996.
FYXA is a cloud-based platform concept under development by FDC that aims to offer a portfolio of affordable financial products and services through a digital platform to meet the varied financial needs of people excluded from mainstream financial services across the Asia Pacific, through:
Clients of microfinance organisations – specifically poor and low-income clients – would be able to affordably transact, trade and learn digitally within a trusted, transparent and compliant ecosystem. They could do this their mobile phone or tablet, or a field officer or partner agent’s mobile device, and can register with FYXA and create a unique identity.
Working with organisations providing microfinance, FYXA has the potential to provide access to services not currently available to the poor more efficiently and in doing so, may fundamentally enhance the value these organisations can offer to their clients – including diversification of services based on improved risk assessment and management capability.
FYXA aims to enable income generation, income security and income growth, by providing a services marketplace and trading ecosystem and greater opportunities for microenterprises and a channel to reach into the formal economy. Working with regulators and policymakers, FYXA seeks to support robust regulatory policy and institutional developments to invigorate economic inclusion, building on the work of FDC’s Banking with the Poor program over three decades.
Across the Asia-Pacific region a sizable proportion of women contribute to their families’ finances, even if they are not the primary breadwinners. While most of their livelihood activities remain small, some women have succeeded in scaling up their businesses and generating a substantial increase in income that transforms their lives and those of their families.
Although profiles of such successful women are common, less is known about the main factors contributing to their transformational success.
Are specific business management skills critical factors? Is it a matter of attitude and mindset? How much their personal and business networks influence their outcomes? Or were they just lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time?
FDC partnered with ACCESS Advisory to research the key factors that contribute to their success. and whether these success factors are replicable and can be taught to other women to achieve a systematic positive impact on the lives of low-income families.
The report “Understanding the Factors Behind Successful Women’s Entrepreneurship: Transitioning from Subsistence to Security” can be found here.
While financial regulation generally aims to protect people with access to the formal banking industry, FDC has consistently placed a high priority on promoting policy and regulatory environments that support development outcomes including access to and use of responsible financial products and services at the grassroots level, including the informal economy.
FDC was founded on the core belief that a multi-sector collaborative process is the best approach to achieving effective development. That means stakeholders from different sectors bringing together resources and capabilities to identify issues and opportunities and drive sustainable outcomes.
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