November 15, 2016
Written by Sean Creehan and Nicholas Borst
This post originally appeared on Pacific Exchanges.
In the second episode of our series on financial technology, we sat down with Sacha Polverini, Senior Program Officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Chairman of the Focus Group on Digital Financial Services for Financial Inclusion at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a United Nations agency that deals with information and communication technologies.
We invited Sacha to speak with us about the challenge of financial inclusion in Asia and how fintech can make a difference. Asia is at the center of global efforts to deliver financial services to the unbanked. As of 2015, an estimated 1 billion people in Asia lacked access to a bank account. Our conversation covers a number of topics, from how we measure financial inclusion and define its success to the types of technologies that can have the greatest impact on people’s lives. Sacha talks about policy successes and experimentation in countries like Kenya and India, the role of both telecommunications and financial firms in promoting inclusion, and how smart policies can pave the way for new financial innovations aimed at serving the poor.
Sacha works at the Gates Foundation’s Financial Services for the Poor, a program which aims to foster the development of digital financial services like mobile money in the developing world. At the ITU, he chairs a committee which seeks to bring together government regulators, service providers, and international organizations to share ideas about how to scale up digital financial services globally.