Breakout Panel Sessions

The Asia-Pacific Financial Inclusion Summit will feature nine separate breakout sessions where participants will have the opportunity to discuss some of the major issues impacting financial inclusion in more detail.

A copy of the full draft program can be downloaded here.

Panel 1: Connecting the Last Mile: A DFS Reality Check 

Technology and digital financial services have been a great enabler for people who can access and use them, but there remain many millions in the Asia-Pacific with no such access.

  • Has the wave of DFS adoption peaked? Those with access to technology and communications have been the ones to benefit. What future gains can be made at the margins?
  • How do stakeholders reach the millions of people in rural and remote parts of Asia who are financially excluded, particularly the illiterate, the innumerate and the ultrapoor?
  • How can access barriers specific to urban centres be addressed?
  • What innovation in hard infrastructure and capacity-building is underway to connect the last mile and eliminate technical barriers to financial inclusion?

Mr. Jinchang Lai, Lead Financial Sector Specialist and Financial Infrastructure Lead for East Asia and Pacific, Finance and Markets, World Bank Group

Mr. Dongwen Liu, General Manager, CFPA Microfinance

Ms. Lara Storm, Director, Financial Inclusion, MIX

Ms. Ratna Vishwanathan, Chief Executive Officer, Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN), India

Panel 2: Financial Inclusion: The Next Generation

Younger financial consumers and professionals are challenging the industry’s thinking on the needs of the next generation. Financial products and services create new opportunities to empower youth, letting them play a more active role in economic development. As financialservices providers continue to find new ways to reach the unbanked, how are they tailoring their products to be appealing, user-friendly and beneficial to youth? What role do these providers play in preparing young people to be tomorrow’s entrepreneurs? How responsive is the market to the needs of the next generation?

Moderator: Mr. Adam Rahman, Head of Corporate Affairs Singapore & ASEAN, Citi

Dr. Noi Keng Koh, Chair, Financial Literacy Hub for Teachers, National Institute of Education Singapore

Mr. Beniam Gebrezghi, Programme Specialist, Civil Society and Youth, United Nations Development Programme

Ms. Le Thi Thuy Duong, Education Program Manager, Save the Children Vietnam

Panel 3: Leaving No One Behind

While the number of people with access to formal financial services is growing impressively, evidence suggests that access to finance, including loans, is not increasing for people living in extreme poverty. This group is potentially falling behind in its take-up of financial services, entrenching disadvantage. Yet, several approaches to providing finance to those living in extreme poverty have developed in recent years, including graduation programmes, savings groups, agricultural value-chains and conditional cash-transfers.

  • Where have there been breakthroughs in financial inclusion for the very poor, and what challenges remain?
  • How can providers work with trusted intermediaries and programs to stimulate access to and use of financial services for those living in poverty?
  • What can players across the financial-inclusion ecosystem contribute to achieving the very first sustainable development goal – ending extreme poverty altogether?

Moderator: Mr. Royston Braganza, Chief Executive Officer, Grameen Capital, India

Mr. Vipin Sharma, Chief Executive Officer, ACCESS Development Services

Ms. Tam Le Thanh, Associate Professor, Dean of Commercial Banking Department, School of Banking and Finance, National Economics University, Vietnam

Mr. David Kneebone, General Manager, Investor Education Centre

Panel 4: Digital Financial Services in the Fintech Era

The future of financial services and products is digital. A revolution underway in digital financial services (DFS) is a major driver of change in the financial ecosystem, promoting inclusion and creating new opportunities for the millions of people in the Asia-Pacific who are still excluded from access to formal financial services. Yet, with new and rapid growth also comes real and potential risks.

  • Where are new DFS technologies, business models and products most forcefully pushing the boundaries in the quest to reach the unbanked?
  • What further change lies on the horizon, beyond what is happening to payment systems?
  • How and where can responsible DFS providers balance the goal of extending access and use with the need for consumer protection and system stability?
  • How will smartphones transform the use and impact of DFS?
  • To achieve scale, are the new, nimble disruptive providers and large, incumbent institutions competitors or partners?

Moderator: Ms. Catherine Simmons, Managing Director, Head of Government Affairs, Asia Pacific, Citi, Hong Kong, China

Ms. Ngoc Anh Nguyen Thi, Senior Program Officer, Social Development and Gender, The Asia Foundation

Ms. Ren Yi Hooi, Asia Partnership Manager, BIMA

Mr. Eric Barbier, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, TransferTo

Mr. Kalin Radev, Chief Executive Officer, Software Group

Panel 5: The Future of Financing for MSMEs

Getting access to finance and using it effectively is one of the main challenges micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) face when they are just starting out or trying to grow. Governments and development partners have collaborated to institute reforms to address this barrier along with other constraints MSMEs experience. On their own, MSMEs have adopted new business models and technology to achieve breakthroughs, with data analytics often playing a key role in success.

  • What lessons can we learn from Asian experiences of success and failure in industry-wide reform?
  • How are MSMEs responding to increasing market complexities and regulations, within the limits of their capacity?
  • Where have industry-wide reforms and MSME innovations improved access to finance and contributed to economic growth?

Moderator: Mr. Prateek Shrivastava, Vice President, Digital Solutions, Accion

Mr. Ken Liffiton, Managing Director, Andafin Mr. Chiou Hao Chan, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Mambu

Mr. Leo Shimada, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Crowdo

Mr. Nguyen Van Than, Chairman, Vietnam Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (VINASME)

Panel 6: Using the Blockchain to Drive Financial Inclusion

Blockchain technology and the concept of the distributed ledger could be game-changers for the financial-services industry. They could also help to drive inclusion by reducing costs, mitigating anti-money-laundering (AML) risk and extending the reach of relevant and appropriately priced products and services to the financially excluded and underbanked.

  • Blockchain technology is being adopted tentatively across the financial sector, but what specific promise does it hold for the poor and unbanked?
  • What state is the technology currently in, and how much potential does it have to accelerate financial inclusion today? Could realisation of the blockchain’s benefits be some way off?
  • What key challenges and opportunities have recent research and trials revealed? How are financial-services providers, policymakers and regulators responding?

Moderator: Mr. Ivan Mortimer-Schutts, Regional Leader for Retail Payments and Mobile Banking in East Asia, International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Mr. Justin Leow, Head of Business Operations,

Ms. Debbie Watkins, Managing Director APMEA, Fern Software

Mr. Zach Piester, Co-Founder and Partner, Intrepid Ventures

Mr. Steven Landman, Chief Executive Officer, Kiu Asia

Panel 7: Developing Financial Inclusion in Vietnam

As Vietnam continues to integrate into the global financial industry the opportunities for developing financial inclusion in Vietnam are now greater than ever. Recognizing the importance of this, Vietnam’s financial institutions are being encouraged to better understand the potential markets and financial needs of the population without access to formal financial services. This market information plays a very important role for Vietnam’s financial inclusion stakeholders including strategic orientation, legal frameworks and understanding the needs of clients.

  • How has financial inclusion developed in Vietnam and what are the major developments expected in the near future?
  • How does Vietnam’s current legal framework create opportunities and challenges for developing financial inclusion in Vietnam?
  • How do poor and low-income people benefit from digital financial products and services in Vietnam?

Moderator: Mrs. Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, Managing Director, Vietnam Microfinance Working Group (VMFWG)

Mr. Ha Hai An, Deputy Director General, International Cooperation Department, State Bank of Vietnam

Ms. Duong Ngoc Linh, Member, the Vietnam Women’s Union Presidium and General Director, Tinh Thuong One-member Limited Liability Microfinance Institution (TYM)

Mr. Nhan Phan Cu, Director, Communication and International Co-operation Department, Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP)

Mr. Alwaleed Alatabani, Lead Financial Sector Specialist, World Bank, Vietnam

Panel 8: Building Trust and Overcoming Barriers in DFS

A lack of trust – in digital financial products, providers and the system itself – can be a significant barrier to the take-up and use of finance. Yet, the exact dynamics that produce or destroy trust are 8 not always clear, and nor is it certain just what engages early adopters while late adopters hesitate.

  • Do customer-centricity and service have a place in the new age of digital finance? Could they stimulate more-rapid adoption of DFS?
  • What roles and responsibilities do customers, providers and other stakeholders play in building trust?
  • How important are client protection and regulation in driving trust?
  • What are the bottlenecks?
  • What examples and concrete actionable steps can and should be taken?

Moderator: Ms. Franchette Cardona, Marketing Director, Wing Cambodia Limited Specialised Bank

Mr. Tony Westaway, Managing Director, MiBank

Ms. Chandni Ohri, Chief Executive Officer, Grameen Foundation India

Ms. Parul Agarwal, Associate Director, IFMR LEAD

Panel 9: Achieving SDG5: Gender Equality and Financial Inclusion

Gender equality is the fifth of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG5), and equal financial inclusion will be a crucial part of achieving it. Yet, despite impressive gains in recent years, women are still less likely to own a bank or mobile-money account than men, and where they do, they often have little or no control over it. At the same time, research indicates femalemanaged finances tend to be productively applied towards a broad range of purposes in health, education, household maintenance and income generation.

  • How are stakeholders in financial inclusion responding to the 2030 goal of gender equality?
  • What progressive public policies, and what elements of national financial-inclusion strategies, are leading to increased equality and empowerment for women?
  • Which innovations in financial-services products, delivery channels and business processes show the greatest promise for achieving equal financial inclusion?
  • Where are development partners shaping and building on the work of the private sector, government and the community to empower women by including them in the financial system?

Moderator: Ms. Nina Nayar, Associate, The Foundation for Development Cooperation (FDC)

Ms. Yueh-Chun Wang, Executive, Pearl S. Buck Foundation

Mr. Rajeev Kumar Gupta, Programme Management Specialist – Inclusive Finance, United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)

Mr. Gil Lacson, Director of Network Engagement and Business Development, Women’s World Banking


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