Financial inclusion enables households and enterprises access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs for transactions, payments, savings, credit, and insurance. It has been identified as an enabler of Sustainable Development Goals and recognized as one of the pillars of global development agenda. Yet financial inclusion is commonly viewed from multidimensional approach, with different dimensions contributing to overall financial inclusion. Moreover, financial inclusion may have varying relevance and impact across a diverse set of economies. This RCI-POD webinar discussed a new measure of financial inclusion and assessed whether different dimensions of financial inclusion show distinct impacts in achieving key development goals of reducing poverty and income inequality as well as strengthening women empowerment and entrepreneurship.
The webinar discussed the report of the Committee on the Global Financial System (CGFS) on the changing composition and dynamics of capital flows, as well as the macroeconomic and financial stability implications of these changes, including for Asia.
This webinar examined the main trends in alternative finance outlined in the Cambridge for Alternative Finance 2nd Global Alternative Finance Market Benchmarking Report, with particular emphasis on developments in the Asia and the Pacific region. It further brought together experts in the field who discussed opportunities and challenges offered by Fintech as well as its potential to jumpstart sustained and inclusive development.
This webinar shed light on the potential impact of global supply chain reshoring on international trade and economic growth. Growing impetus for reshoring requires regional economies to stay vigilant and to forge appropriate policy responses to navigate ongoing challenges while utilizing potential opportunities to be unlocked at the same time. Against this background, the webinar discussed global, regional, and country level policy responses to reshoring.
The webinar, jointly organized by ADB’s Office of the General Counsel and Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department and to be opened by Vice President Bruce Gosper, will shed light on the current landscape of trade dispute resolution mechanisms in the Asia and Pacific region, their strengths, weaknesses, and potential implications in response to COVID-19 and the post-pandemic economic recovery. It will also help identify possible synergies in the dispute settlement mechanisms of regional trade agreements and understand the demand for capacity building among ADB’s developing member economies in this area.
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The webinar, organized by ADB’s Regional Cooperation and Integration Division and Finance Sector Group, presented the key features of the ADB International Investment Agreement Tool Kit report and its companion database. The report offers a detailed mapping of provisions in concluded international investment agreements in the Asia and Pacific region. It provides a valuable tool for policy makers to assess the design, structure, and efficiency of Asia’s investment treaties and their potential role in economic recovery post-COVID-19. A panel of experts discussed these policy considerations and possible applications of the Tool Kit.
The webinar shared information on ERCD’s knowledge project “Roadmap for the Development of an NPL Trading Platform to Strengthen Asia’s NPL Markets amid COVID-19.” The project aims to examine country-specific circumstances, opportunities, and challenges for nonperforming loans (NPL) trading, and assess the feasibility of establishing an electronic NPL trading platform in the region. The webinar provided an overview and first findings of the study, discussed experiences from existing NPL transaction platforms, and offered a venue for fruitful discussions on this topic.
This webinar, jointly organized by ADB’s Regional Cooperation and Integration Division and UN World Tourism Organization, presented latest trends in big data and tourism and discussed new approaches for the public sector on how to use big data to improve tourism policy and management, especially in the context of the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put digital services at the center stage with the adoption, acceptance, and usage of digital technologies hyper-accelerating for both consumers and SMEs. In 2020, the internet economy hits $100 billion in Southeast Asia with 400 million internet users. This webinar presented the 2020 Google-Temasek-Bain&Company report on the region’s digital economy. It also brought a panel of experts who reacted to the presentation and discussed critical issues, pressing challenges, and way forward so that digital transformation contributes to resilient and sustainable growth in Southeast Asia.
The COVID-19 pandemic risks reversing the hard-won gains in gender equality in the Asia and Pacific region for the past 25 years. Emerging evidence on the impact to women and girls points to higher risk of dropping out of school and domestic violence, among others. This webinar, jointly organized by ADB’s Regional Cooperation and Integration Division and Gender Equity Thematic Group, explored gender equality policy opportunities through recovery responses.
This webinar presented the improvements to the Asia-Pacific Regional Cooperation and Integration Index (ARCII). Together with the latest results of index, the presentation was made on the progress of new collected indicators for the enhanced ARCII framework and a spatial analysis of the determinants of regional integration. A panel of leading experts on regional integration discussed the findings and possible methodological improvements and extensions to this work.
COVID-19 weighs heavily on health systems and safety of individuals in ASEAN. As countries ponder to re-open their economies, regional actions to complement national efforts are important to ensure that a second wave of re-infection is managed and that cross-border cooperation are strengthened to ensure that essential medical supplies are available, strong health surveillance mechanism are in place, government policies and capacities are well coordinated, and a system for the distribution of vaccines is in place.
Bilateral investment treaties (BITs) are an important policy tool for promoting foreign direct investments and safeguarding the interests of States and investors. They govern particular areas of investment policy, including the treatment of foreign investors and the dispute settlement mechanisms in place. If the reach of BITs has increased, some concerns have emerged in recent years about the benefits, but also costs, they may bring to some States. The COVID-19 crisis has also underscored a risk that governments’ response to the pandemic could trigger an upsurge of investor-State disputes in coming years. The webinar discussed the potential role of investment treaties in the response to COVID-19 and the long-term strategies of Asian economies towards the economic recovery.
Across Asia-Pacific, SMEs are an important part of the economy in terms of production and employment generation. However, they found it difficult to participate in the world economy even before the COVID-19 pandemic and have been devastated further by it now. This webinar examined what opportunities SME globalization offers the region and how these have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. It also explored how public and private sectors can work together to help globalized SMEs become more resilient.
COVID-19 is driving economies into recession, putting many jobs at risk. Up to 242 million full-time jobs could be lost globally, with 70% of these in Asia and the Pacific. Informal employees in vulnerable sectors will be hard hit and many middle-skilled workers face being displaced into lower paying work. The pandemic will also spur a digital transformation of work and the workplace.
Capital Flows During COVID-19 Pandemic: Insights from Sectoral Capital Flows and Policy Challenges
Digital technology is reshaping many aspects of our daily lives and business practices, payment systems are not an exception. FinTech payments reinforce the benefits of earlier digital payment solutions (e.g., debit or credit cards) in terms of efficiency, convenience, and transparency. They also have the potential to advancing financial inclusion, as a substantial part of their customer base is comprised of previously unbanked or underbanked individuals, a group underserved by the earlier wave of digital payment solutions. Moreover, FinTech payments can create virtuous cycles with the e-commerce sector and MSMEs.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding economic recession put job security and well-being of over 91 million international migrants from Asia and the Pacific at risk. Official data show international remittances to developing Asian economies have plummeted in recent months. A substantial number of households in developing Asia—who depends on international remittances— could fall into poverty; particularly in the Pacific and Central/West Asia economies where dependency rates on remittance inflows are high.
Will the Post COVID-19 Recovery in Asia and the Pacific Result in Greater Regionalization of Trade and Investment?
The impact and experience with the COVID-19 pandemic and several major economic forces or trends in favor of greater intra-Asia production, trade and investment may have weakened the region’s preference or dependence on the global multilateral trade system, while increasing perceived risks of overdependence on long-distance value chains vulnerable to disruption anywhere along the ‘chain’.
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis is having strong and adverse effects on foreign direct investment (FDI) flows, with potentially long-term consequences for Asian economies. Short-term delays in the implementation of investment projects, and long-term adjustments from multinational enterprises to secure production resilience will impact the region’s investment potential.
The tourism sector is one of the hardest hit sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of jobs in tourism and related industries have already been lost, threatening the livelihoods of countless households in the region. The webinar discussed strategies to revive tourism amid the pandemic. In particular, it explored opportunities offered by domestic tourism and travel bubbles as well as the limits and obstacles in implementation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised food security risks in Asia and the Pacific as strict quarantine measures and export bans on basic food items have affected all stages of food supply chains. Household food consumption and nutrition have been significantly affected by loss of jobs and income and limited access to food.
COVID-19 has impacted both demand and supply side of economy. Shrinking demand and value chain disruption can cause double whammy to the international trade landscape. This webinar discussed how much immediate impact of COVID-19 on trade will be and how the pandemic will affect the longer-term trade landscape, including on trade in services, and global value chain structures, along with appropriate policy responses at regional and global levels.
The pandemic could trigger a recession in a world economy that is already heavily indebted. Economic recessions imply lower corporate earnings and higher unemployment, exacerbating the risk of debt crisis. This webinar introduced a new study on “the impact of nonperforming loans in cross-border bank lending and implications for emerging market economies”, discussed the risk of financial contagion, and explored policy options to avoid a debt crisis during the COVID-19 crisis.
Past financial crises have demonstrated how adequate financial safety net arrangements—globally, regionally, and nationally—are vital to safeguarding financial stability. The unfolding COVID-19 pandemic threatens financial stability in the region. This webinar recast lessons of the past financial crises, discussed the role of regional financial safety nets and ADB’s crisis support facilities, and explored policy options to ensure regional financial stability and resilience moving forward.