World still faces challenges in financial inclusion: Vietnam banker

The international community has achieved some success in implementing financial inclusion but is still facing a lot of challenges, according to Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam Nguyen Thi Hong.

Experts during a discussion session at the APEC Asia-Pacific Forum on Financial Inclusion
Experts during a discussion session at the APEC Asia-Pacific Forum on Financial Inclusion

Hong made the statement in her opening speech at the two-day APEC Asia-Pacific Forum on Financial Inclusion that kicked off on July 10 in the UNESCO-recognised ancient town of Hoi An.

She pointed out several challenges, including a low ratio of poor people’s access to formal financial services, the gaps between rich and poor in development levels, and inadequate investment in financial infrastructure and financial product development in the digital age, among others.

Hong emphasised that in the face of those challenges, the forum was held to gather the top financial experts and relevant parties to discuss the possibilities and methods required to maximise the benefits of financial inclusion, appropriate with the characteristics and development level of each country, as well as the development requirements in the new context.

Major topics for discussion during the two-day event include determining the scope of financial inclusion, the current state of implementing digital applications in this field, and the role of credit and financial services/products in supporting economic development in rural areas.

Experts will also discuss the creation of a suitable environment for microfinance products and services, developing micro insurance and the challenges and policy requirements of online financial supply chains.

These topics are considered particularly important and essential to the APEC host Vietnam and other countries in the initial stages of access to financial inclusion.

The results of the discussions will be included in a report on the current state and strategy to enhance financial awareness in APEC member economies, from which reform suggestions will be made to promote dynamic and sustainable financial inclusion in the region.

The forum is hosted by the State Bank of Vietnam in collaboration with APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) and the Foundation for Development Cooperation (FDC).