CGAP Launches Citi Foundation Funded East Asia Program

12 September 2016

CGAP Launches Citi Foundation Funded East Asia Digital Financial Inclusion Program

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 12, 2016 – The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) launched today the East Asia Digital Financial Inclusion Program funded by the Citi Foundation. This pioneering program aims to build knowledge exchange and experience sharing around frontier issues in effective policy making that support and enable financial inclusion through digital channels.

The goal of the new program is to leverage policymakers’ experience with supervision of digital financial inclusion in three selected countries in East Asia - China, Indonesia and the Philippines – to yield knowledge and best practices and share with standard-setting bodies and the global community. At the same time, the program will work with policymakers in these three countries to apply global knowledge around international standards and policies relevant to digital financial inclusion in their respective countries.

“The policy environment is a crucial factor in closing the financial inclusion gap to over 2 billion unbanked people around the world. It helps determine the range and quality of formal financial services available and on how many marginalized customers take up and use the services on an ongoing basis,” says Timothy Lyman, Lead of the Global Policy Architecture initiative at CGAP.

“The rapid development of digital financial services promises to be a game-changing opportunity for reaching the excluded and underserved populations. However, a hasty adoption may also pose risks. We are pleased to partner with CGAP to better understand the implications of digital financial inclusion both at the global and country levels and work at advancing a more enabling and protective environment,” says Regina Seow, Regional Head of Corporate Citizenship, Citi Asia Pacific.

The three program countries were selected based on the following profiles:

  • China has enabled, through its policies, a variety of payment companies to build on the vast usage of digital channels, such as the internet, smartphones and e-commerce, leading to an expansion of digital financial services usage in the country.
  • Indonesia has embarked on substantial policy reform to support the expansion of digital finance in the country. As the reform is ongoing, there are opportunities to learn what approaches to supervision of digital financial inclusion hold the most promise.
  • The Philippines was the first country globally to launch mobile money. The active role that supervisors continue to play in assessing innovative approaches provides good practice examples of digital financial inclusion.

Three potential outcomes of the program include:

  • Strengthened mechanisms for learning, information sharing, cooperation and co-ordination of activities related to digital financial inclusion.
  • Improved global awareness of digital financial inclusion policy in East Asia.
  • Improved capacity of policymakers (supervisors, in particular) to promote the interdependence that exists between financial inclusion, financial stability, integrity and consumer protection.

About CGAP

The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) is a global partnership of 34 leading organizations that seek to advance financial inclusion. CGAP develops innovative solutions through practical research and active engagement with financial service providers, policy makers and funders to enable approaches at scale. Housed at the World Bank, CGAP combines a pragmatic approach to responsible market development with an evidence-based advocacy platform to increase access to the financial services the poor need to improve their lives. Our mission is to improve the lives of poor people by spurring innovations and advancing knowledge and solutions that promote responsible, sustainable, inclusive financial markets (www.cgap.org). Follow us on Twitter @CGAP and find additional media resources here.

About The Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.

Media Contacts

Esther Rosen, CGAP: [email protected]

James Griffiths, Citi Foundation: [email protected]