MANILA: November 13, 2017 – The Right Money + Open Markets = Prosperity for All forum of the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit highlighted the necessity of better access to inclusive financing, importance of resilience, and right regulative frameworks for the growth of MSMEs in light on the promises of digital revolution and without disregarding the human aspect.
The panelists for the Money segment were Gov. Nestor Espenilla, Governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Philippines), Razak, Inaugural Chair of the World Economic Forum (WEF) ASEAN Regional Business Council (Malaysia), Anthony Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of Mynt (Philippines). For the Markets aspect, the panelists were Tan Sri Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria, Senior Policy Fellow of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (Malaysia), Alexander Feldman, President and CEO of US-ASEAN Business Council (USA), Robbie Antonio, CEO of Revolution Precrafted (Philippines), David Foote, Founder and CEO, Zennya (USA), moderated by Dato Timothy Ong, Chairman of Asia Inc. Forum (Brunei Darussalam).
Identifying the central challenges faced by various sectors in achieving financial inclusivity was the springboard of the discussion. It touched on innovative and inclusive financing options and discussed the accessibility of these programs for micro, small and medium entrepreneurs.
For BSP Governor Espenilla, the lack of financial policy framework led to the prolonged inability in achieving financial inclusivity. In order to address the problem, he said, “We need to recognize that it is a multifaceted approach with a lot of collaboration between the government and the private sector. It is not just access to credit but increasing capacity of MSMEs. We need to collaborate within and outside the government to facilitate this.”
Dato Razak suggested that the way banks are built play a role in ensuring inclusivity, emphasizing the need to change the value systems in business since the old framework of mere competition should shift towards the new framework of compassion.
For Thomas, “The central challenge [in the fintech industry] is having cost-efficient model for banks to really serve MSMEs and individuals below the economic threshold.”
In order to move toward financial inclusion, Tan Sri Sta. Maria emphasized that other aspects should not be left out but rather they should be done parallel with such efforts such as facilitating logistics and e-commerce.
The emergence of data as a key currency is one of the considerations in understanding how the ASEAN will par in the digital economy. Seen as one of the opportunities for financial inclusion, Feldman tackled how the digital economy is a game changer that allows MSMEs bring themselves to the economic ladder.
The panelists were also asked to do a sample pitch to ASEAN policy-makers. Antonio said that for him, “In the equity side, there is a need to create a more robust ecosystem of capital firms alongside other side other Southeast Asian nations. Availability of capital will help creative entrepreneurs who were not able to have a chance.” He expounded that when faced with funding constraints, micro entrepreneurs should learn how to be resourceful.
“Help encourage investments, through subsidies in the form of innovation thereby raising the bar on technology,” Foote answered suggesting that ASEAN has to keep in mind: Innovation and Competition.
ABIS 2017 is the biggest and most prestigious business event in ASEAN presented by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council which will bring attention to the business, investment opportunities, global issues, and key strategic directions that impact on business opportunities for ASEAN member nations today.