ISLAMABAD: A two-day Regional Forum on “Investing in Inclusive Business in Asia” will start from today (Wednesday)in Philippians which will highlight the innovative and impactful inclusive business models from across the region.
The forum will review the growing interest of private investors in this marketplace, and discuss the important role development finance institutions (DFIs) can play in accelerating the growth and impact of this field in the region.
The Forum will also discuss the findings and recommendations of various inclusive business market studies Asian Development Bank (ADB) has done in 10 Asian countries. The Forum will offer expert-led discussions for both experienced and new investors, inclusive business practitioners, thought leaders from academia and civil society, as well representatives of the development assistance community.
It will also highlight the body of practice from Latin America through the participation of the Inter-American Development Bank who has played a catalytic role in promoting impact investing and inclusive business development in Latin America through successfully deploying US$260 million in more than 40 investments across the region over the last six years.
Over the past two decades, the Asia and the Pacific region has sharply reduced the share of its population living in poverty to 21 per cent ($1.25 per capita income/expenditure at purchasing power parity of 2005) and 47 per cent ($2).
Many countries in the region have also broadened their approach toward economic development and moved from poverty reduction to promoting inclusive growth strategies that can sustainably benefit the poor and vulnerable.
However, the pace and pattern of growth has not created sufficient opportunities for the lower-income women and men, and governments’ efforts to promote basic services and income opportunities remain often limited in scope, depth, and scale, indicating challenges for public action to make economic growth more inclusive.
While the private sector has been a key contributor to the economic boom in Asia, commercially viable market-based solutions to create better opportunities for the lower income segments in Asia are getting increasingly visible. Financial institutions – both in the markets as well as governments and development partners – also increasingly engage in this “base of the pyramid” sector.
With the emergence of impact investing and social enterprises, it is timely to have a meaningful dialogue on how best to leverage these private sectors led opportunities for poverty reduction and inclusive growth through finance, capacity building, knowledge sharing, and strategic alignment.