The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) today [October 25] held a kick-off ceremony marking the implementation of the US$5 million technical assistance (TA), funded by the Government of Switzerland, to nurture financial technologies (fintech) that can help improve financial inclusion in Vietnam.
|Overview of the ceremony. Source: ADB
The event was witnessed by a high-level delegation of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). This funding, along with a $2 million contribution from the Japan Fund for Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific (JFPR), financed by the Government of Japan, will support the expansion of inclusive and climate finance in the country.
Barriers to finance in Vietnam extend beyond individuals and particularly affect microenterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Women-owned and women-led SMEs (WSMEs) are even more adversely affected, with an estimated $1.2 billion financing gap. Therefore, the TA is crucial in helping advance the access to finance of SMEs and WSMEs in particular and will do so by supporting SBV in developing and implementing the regulatory framework for strengthening the digital finance sector, ensuring safe market conduct, and a thriving ecosystem.
“The State Bank of Vietnam highly appreciates this Technical Assistance Project and considers this one of the essential supports to help create a favorable environment for the development of fintech to improve quality and diversification in providing financial products and services to people and businesses, thereby actively contributing to promoting national financial inclusion,” said SBV’s Deputy Governor Pham Tien Dung.
“The project also makes an important contribution to promoting green growth through the development and contribution of green banking and green credit,” he said.
“In Vietnam, fintech is the key to accelerating innovative and convenient financial solutions and services to reach the unbanked and underbanked segments, including SMEs, and enhance efficiency and financial security,” said ADB Country Director for Vietnam Shantanu Chakraborty. “Following earlier fruitful collaboration with SBV, we are excited to join efforts in further fostering the digital banking transformation in Vietnam’s fast-growing market.”
The TA contemplates training opportunities on fintech and green banking best practices for SBV staff, targeting 25% female participation and consulting services to WSMEs on preparing green loan applications. Additionally, it will build the capacity for relevant government ministries and members of fintech and banking associations and assist selected commercial banks in developing digital banking.
“This technical assistance program further expands Switzerland’s comprehensive support to strengthen and deepen the financial sector of Vietnam. Through strengthening Vietnam’s fintech industry and fostering the digitalization of the banking sector, the program offers new opportunities for Small- and medium-sized enterprises to improve their access to financing,” Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs Dominique Paravicini added.
Based in Bern, SECO is the Swiss Confederation’s center of expertise for all core economic policy issues, including economic cooperation and development. Among others, it implements Switzerland’s economic and trade policy measures for the benefit of developing countries.