Wednesday, September 22, 2021


ASEAN remains a fast growing region despite the pandemic

Despite the COVID-19 crisis, ASEAN is one of the fastest growing regions in the world, said Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah during the ASEAN Business and Investment Roundtable 2021 on Fintech and Financial Literacy held virtually yesterday.



The minister also said, Bain and Company’s e-Conomy Southeast Asia report noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has led to big shifts across Southeast Asia, highlighting that 40 million people came online for the first time last year, bringing the total number of Internet users in the region to 400 million.

“The Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia points out that ASEAN consumers are global leaders in terms of e-wallets and digital payment adoption.

“This offers great opportunities but also challenges as we must keep inclusivity in mind and ensure that with the rapid rate of technological change it does not leave anyone behind.

“Financial literacy plays a critical role on inclusivity.

“Not only is it important to understand money and the changing nature of transactions, both for personal and business purposes but digital financial literacy has become essential if we are to achieve our goals of ensuring that everyone can benefit from the advancements in fintech.

“ASEAN governments are continuing to meet virtually to discuss what steps can be taken to help our region continue to be vibrant as we draw closer to the Summit in October,” said the minister.

Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew also said that as Chair of ASEAN, Brunei has developed 13 priority economic deliverables that have been guided by the strategic thrusts of ‘Recovery, Digitalisation and Sustainability’. “I am delighted to see that the programme for roundtable reflects both the strategic thrusts and a number of our priority economic deliverables.

“The discussions contribute towards our work on e-commerce, cybersecurity, the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services that focusses on financial services liberation and specifically on financial literacy where we have a summit planned at the end of this year in conjunction with ASEAN Savings Day 2021.”

In its foreword, the organiser of Asean Business Investment Roundtable said the pandemic has significantly impacted lives and livelihoods across ASEAN.

It has changed the way people work, travel, access payments, use of cash and highlighted the financial inclusion gaps.

The region has seen a surge in online banking as limited movements and the gig economy have accelerated digital adoption and greater use of e-wallets. The potential for growth and benefits of adoption are significant. Fitch Ratings calculated that there are around 290 million unbanked and underserved people in Southeast Asia.

Those using online banking tend to use it for smaller frequent purchases, bigger spending remains with credit and debit cards, according to Kagan research.

Financial literacy is essential for fintech to be adopted. Greater financial literacy ensures greater use but also inclusiveness as communities are able to better understand how to manage and move money in the digital world. As ASEAN is the fastest growing Internet market in the world, fintech and financial literacy are set to play key roles in the future.

The Roundtable on Fintech and Financial Literacy explored how innovative digital financial solutions can ensure an inclusive sustainable recovery and is part of a series of events under the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2021.

Published : August 31, 2021