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Asia Pacific Financial Inclusion Summit kicks off in Hanoi

More than 450 thought leaders in the inclusive finance ecosystem will gather over two days to drive collective and positive change for greater financial inclusion across the region

March 21, 2017: The Asia Pacific Financial Inclusion Summit 2017 opened in Hanoi on Tuesday, bringing together over 450 key stakeholders, thought leaders and practitioners to further the financial inclusion agenda in the region.

Now in its second year, the summit is organized by the Citi Foundation and the Foundation for Development Cooperation (FDC) in partnership with the Banking with the Poor Network and The Economist Group. This year, the State Bank of Vietnam is the official host of the summit.

Themed ‘Advancing Financial Inclusion in a Digital Age’, the summit will explore the opportunities and challenges of the next generation of financial inclusion, and showcase the latest technology and innovations in financial products and services for the unbanked and underserved.

Michelle Curry, CEO of FDC, called the impact of the digital age on financial inclusion ‘arguably the greatest financial reform of our time’ and added that it was ‘both encouraging and inspiring to see such dedication to the reform evidenced by the large number of attendees at this sellout summit’.

Plenary Panel Discussion – Ms. Brandee McHale, Mr. Dean Karlan, Mr. Gregory Chen and Ms. Vijayalakshmi Das discuss The Changing Landscape in Asia-Pacific

                                   Stephen Taylor, Deputy Chairman, Foundation for Development Cooperation

                              Ms. Michelle Curry, Chief Executive Officer, Foundation for Development Cooperation

                          Ms. Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation and Director of Corporate Citizenship at Citi

Madam Nguyen Thi Hong, Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam, spoke about the future of financial inclusion in her keynote address. “More organisations are offering new financial products and services that change the form and nature of the market and are shaping the future of financial inclusion. This rapid change presents challenges in terms of management, monitoring and risk of information and system security. Therefore, it is critical to harmonise the goals of financial innovation, integration and consumer protection to maximize the benefits of financial inclusion,” said Madam Hong.

Despite great progress made over the past decades in financial inclusion worldwide, some two billion adults remain unbanked, more than half of which are in Asia Pacific.

“The inclusive finance ecosystem is evolving to include not only financial service providers, both banks and non-banks, but new players, like mobile money providers and e-money operators, to name a few,” said Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation and Director of Corporate Citizenship at Citi. “What we will explore at this year’s Summit is the need to balance new innovative technological advances and creative partnerships with policy that will continue to not only help drive financial inclusion for low-income populations but also protect vulnerable populations.”

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