UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific convenes

The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) will virtually convene today. The meeting will outline

Bangkok, Thailand

Photo: REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) will virtually convene today.

The meeting will outline the methods by which UNESCAP members can assist micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in entering or investing in digital business ventures to stimulate economic growth. MSMEs constitute a significant share of economic activity in the Asia-Pacific region, but lag behind their Western counterparts in digitisation of operations and access to financial technology (“fintech”).

Expect today’s meeting to set out a broad array of policy suggestions. Developed nations will likely take great interest in creating fintech systems to grant MSMEs greater access to micro-financing, often overlooked or unavailable to micro and small businesses. Less developed nations, though, are unlikely to take much from today’s meeting as progress remains blocked by lack of internet access, with the lowest end of the economic spectrum still only reaching 1% broadband penetration. Nevertheless, participants will find common ground in developing strong cybersecurity regimes as it remains a bottleneck for both developing fintech schemes and expanding internet access. Thus, expect the meeting to suggest strong data privacy and security policy be implemented writ large.

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