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Ms. Elena Loukoianova, Yongzheng Yang, Mr. Si Guo, Ms. Leni Hunter, Mrs. Sarwat Jahan, Mr. Fazurin Jamaludin, Umang Rawat, Johanna Schauer, Piyaporn Sodsriwiboon, and Mr. Yiqun Wu
Asia has made significant progress in financial inclusion, but both its across-country and intra-country disparities are among the highest in the world. The gaps between the rich and the poor, rural and urban populations, and men and women remain deep. Income is the main determinant of the level of financial inclusion; but other factors, such as geography, financial sector structure, and policies, also play important roles. While some countries in the Asia-Pacific region are leaders in fintech, on average the region lags behind others in several important areas such as online (internet) purchases, electronic payments, mobile money, and mobile government transfers. This Departmental Paper aims to take stock of the development and current state of financial inclusion and shed light on policies to advance financial inclusion in the region. The research focuses on the impact of financial inclusion on economic growth, poverty reduction, and inequality, linkages between financial inclusion and macroeconomic policies, as well as structural policies that are important for improving financial inclusion. Given the increasing importance of financial technologies (fintech), the paper also provides a snapshot of the fintech landscape in the Asia-Pacific.
International Monetary Fund
This paper focuses on Second Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper for Lao People’s Democratic Republic. The economic sectors have undergone significant restructuring. This restructuring has been concentrated on production capacities, quality and efficiency, thus contributing to economic growth and meeting the initial requirements for international integration. The government has also concentrated on the development of agricultural production to reorient the agriculture sector from semisubsistence and subsistence to commercial production to ensure the enhanced supply of raw materials to the processing industries, meeting the growing domestic requirements for agricultural products, and rapidly expanding agricultural exports.
Mrs. Sarwat Jahan, Jayendu De, Mr. Fazurin Jamaludin, Piyaporn Sodsriwiboon, and Cormac Sullivan
Financial inclusion is a multidimensional concept and countries have chosen diverse methods of enhancing financial inclusion with varying degrees of results. The heterogeneity of financial inclusion is particularly striking in the Asia-Pacific region as member countries range from those that are at the cutting edge of financial technology to others that are aiming to provide access to basic financial services. The wide disparity is not only inter-country but also intra-country. The focus of this paper is to take stock of the current state of financial inclusion in the Asia-Pacific region by highlighting twelve stylized facts about the state of financial inclusion in these countries. The paper finds that the state of financial inclusion depends on several factors, but a holistic approach calibrated to specific country conditions may lead to greater financial inclusion.
Asli Demirguc-kunt and Leora Klapper

Technology is generating a global convergence. A "big bang" of information—and education as well—is improving human lives. And with global interconnectivity growing by leaps and bounds, we are all witness to a rapid spread of information and ideas. But, as we have seen from the prolonged global financial crisis, our interconnectedness carries grave risks as well as benefits. This issue of F&D looks at different aspects of interconnectedness, globally and in Asia. • Brookings VP Kemal Devis presents the three fundamental trends in the global economy affecting the balance between east and west in "World Economy: Convergence, Interdependence, and Divergence." • In "Financial Regionalism," Akihiro Kawai and Domenico Lombardi tell us how regional arrangements are helping global financial stability. • In "Migration Meets Slow Growth," Migration Policy Institute president Demetrios Papademetriou examines how the global movement of workers will change as the economic crisis continues in advanced economies. • "Caught in the Web" explains new ways of looking at financial interconnections in a globalized world. • IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde provides her take on the benefits of integration and the risks of fragmentation in "Straight Talk." Also in this issue, we take a closer look at interconnectedness across Asia as we explore how trade across the region is affected by China's falling trade surplus, how India and China might learn from each others' success, and what Myanmar's reintegration into the global economy means for its people. F&D's People in Economics series profiles Justin Yifu Lin, first developing country World Bank economist, and the Back to Basics series explains the origins and evolution of money.