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Sonja Davidovic, Ms. Elena Loukoianova, Cormac Sullivan, and Hervé Tourpe
The Bali Fintech Agenda highlights 12 principles for policymakers to consider when formulating their approaches to new financial technology (fintech). The agenda aims to harness the potential of fintech while managing associated risks. This paper looks at how some elements of the Bali Fintech Agenda could be used in Pacific island countries, which face significant financial-structural challenges.
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.
Tamas Gaidosch, Frank Adelmann, Anastasiia Morozova, and Christopher Wilson
This paper highlights the emerging supervisory practices that contribute to effective cybersecurity risk supervision, with an emphasis on how these practices can be adopted by those agencies that are at an early stage of developing a supervisory approach to strengthen cyber resilience. Financial sector supervisory authorities the world over are working to establish and implement a framework for cyber risk supervision. Cyber risk often stems from malicious intent, and a successful cyber attack—unlike most other sources of risk—can shut down a supervised firm immediately and lead to systemwide disruptions and failures. The probability of attack has increased as financial systems have become more reliant on information and communication technologies and as threats have continued to evolve.
Ms. Ratna Sahay, Mr. Ulric Eriksson von Allmen, Ms. Amina Lahreche, Purva Khera, Ms. Sumiko Ogawa, Majid Bazarbash, and Ms. Kimberly Beaton
Technology is changing the landscape of the financial sector, increasing access to financial services in profound ways. These changes have been in motion for several years, affecting nearly all countries in the world. During the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has created new opportunities for digital financial services to accelerate and enhance financial inclusion, amid social distancing and containment measures. At the same time, the risks emerging prior to COVID-19, as digital financial services developed, are becoming even more relevant.
Marco A Espinosa-Vega, Ms. Kazuko Shirono, Mr. Hector Carcel Villanova, Miss Esha Chhabra, Ms. Bidisha Das, and Ms. Yingjie Fan
This departmental paper marks the 10th anniversary of the IMF Financial Access Survey (FAS). It offers a retrospective of the FAS database, along with some reflections as to its future directions. Since its 2009 launch, the FAS has provided granular data on access to and use of financial services. It is a supply-side database with annual global coverage based on data sourced directly from financial service providers—aimed at supporting policymakers to target and evaluate financial inclusion policies. Its data collection has kept pace with financial innovation, such as the rise of mobile money and growing demand for gender-disaggregated data—and the FAS must continue to evolve.
Alina Iancu, Gareth Anderson, Mr. Sakai Ando, Ethan Boswell, Mr. Andrea Gamba, Shushanik Hakobyan, Ms. Lusine Lusinyan, Mr. Neil Meads, and Mr. Yiqun Wu
Despite major structural shifts in the international monetary system over the past six decades, the US dollar remains the dominant international reserve currency. Using a newly compiled database of individual economies’ reserve holdings by currency, this departmental paper finds that financial links have been an increasingly important driver of reserve currency configurations since the global financial crisis, particularly for emerging market and developing economies. The paper also finds a rise in inertial effects, implying that the US dollar dominance is likely to endure. But historical precedents of sudden changes suggest that new developments, such as the emergence of digital currencies and new payments ecosystems, could accelerate the transition to a new landscape of reserve currencies.
Mr. Amadou N Sy, Mr. Rodolfo Maino, Mr. Alexander Massara, Hector Perez-Saiz, and Preya Sharma
FinTech is a major force shaping the structure of the financial industry in sub-Saharan Africa. New technologies are being developed and implemented in sub-Saharan Africa with the potential to change the competitive landscape in the financial industry. While it raises concerns on the emergence of vulnerabilities, FinTech challenges traditional structures and creates efficiency gains by opening up the financial services value chain. Today, FinTech is emerging as a technological enabler in the region, improving financial inclusion and serving as a catalyst for the emergence of innovations in other sectors, such as agriculture and infrastructure.
Aidar Abdychev, Cristian Alonso, Mr. Emre Alper, Mr. Dominique Desruelle, Siddharth Kothari, Yun Liu, Mathilde Perinet, Sidra Rehman, Mr. Axel Schimmelpfennig, and Preya Sharma
Far-reaching changes in technology, climate, and global economic integration are transforming the world of work in ways that we do not yet fully understand. Will the swift technological advances of the Fourth Industrial Revolution raise the standards of living for everyone? Or will robots massively displace workers leading to a jobless future where only a few benefit from the fruits of innovation? Will mitigation efforts be able to cushion the adverse effects of climate change, including food shortages and mass migration, which would place extra pressure on urban labor markets? Will countries continue to integrate commercially and financially, fostering growth and employment? Or will trade wars become a norm in a world increasingly fragmented and inward-looking? In sub-Saharan Africa, these uncertainties meet a dramatic increase in population and a rapid expansion in the labor force, which is becoming increasingly urban.