Philippines kicks off ASEAN FinTech Month

DTI, DICT, Digital Pilipinas lead launch of Philippine FinTech Festival, MAS’ SFE Programme 

MANILA, Philippines, Aug. 25, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Alfredo Pascual led the back-to-back partnership launch of the Philippine FinTech Festival (PFF) and the SME-Financial Empowerment (SFE) Programme of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). These initiatives are set amidst the rapid development of the Philippine FinTech industry, which drew in a record-high $342 million investment in the first half of 2021 alone.

Leading the launch of the PFF and the SME Programme (from top, then clockwise from left to right): DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual; DICT Undersecretary David L. Almirol Jr.; MAS Chief Fintech Officer Sopnendu Mohanty; IFC Philippines Country Manager Jean-Marc Arbogast; Digital Pilipinas Convenor Amor Maclang; and UNDP Resident Representative Selva Ramachandran.

The PFF will kickstart the ASEAN FinTech Month on October 17, followed by Cambodia on October 24 and Thailand on October 27, leading up to the annual Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) in November. The PFF is a partner of the World FinTech Festival, which is a series of local market showcases, sector deep-dives, and networking opportunities organised in collaboration with a global network of trusted partners building up to the SFF.

“Technology is redefining industries, as well as SMEs, which need the help of the FinTech community to broaden their scope,” said Sec. Pascual.

ASEAN digitalization
The SFE Programme highlights the benefits of financially empowering SMEs which Sec. Pascual said should be treated as “digitally-driven enterprises. They employ 63% of the workforce and contribute 40% to the Gross Domestic Product. But they lack financing, and need technology and their products and services to be seen and sold.”

Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Undersecretary David L. Almirol Jr. added that the government’s adoption of technology can help SMEs grow. He cited challenges, “There are too many manual systems in government which is outdated with insufficient staffing.” He added that collaboration with the private sector can lead to the freedom to innovate.

MAS’ Chief FinTech Officer Sopnendu Mohanty said, “Technology can drive ideas to help SMEs scale. Financial empowerment, through the SFE programme, is the first step to help SMEs better understand and leverage financial and digital tools to grow. The Singapore ecosystem is pleased to collaborate with  the Philippines to support the ASEAN FinTech movement, which would connect the FinTech and financial services community in the region.”

PFF launch
Technological collaboration as vital to ASEAN growth will become more pronounced in the PFF, which will gather more than 200 key stakeholders, thought leaders, policymakers, and some of the country’s biggest technology companies.

“The PFF will take a deep, constructive dive into the issues surrounding the cooperation of enterprises at the national and regional levels,” said Amor Maclang, Convenor of PFF, World FinTech Festival – Philippines and Digital Pilipinas, the Philippines’ largest private-sector movement actively championing technological adoption in industries. “Working with the public sector to increase the country’s digital quotient has always been part of Digital Pilipinas’ advocacy. “

The back-to-back launch was attended by government, business, and tech leaders: Jean-Marc Arbogast, Country Manager, International Finance Corporation; Selva Ramachandra, Resident Representative, United Nations Development Programme; Nelly Dillera, Executive Director, DTTI – Philippine Trade Training Center; Yoly Crisanto, Globe Chief Sustainability and Corporate Communications Officer; Rico Bautista, President and CEO, Etiqa; Ramesh Nagarajan, Lead, Payment Security, APJ, Outseer;  Francis Plaza, Paymongo CEO; Angeline Tham, Angkas Founder; Arlene Martinez, Founding President, Asian Council for Small Business; Tan Chong Hui, Head of Finance Programme, Singapore University of Social Sciences; and  Rajan Uttamchandani, Chairman and Founder, Esquire.

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