The Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) and Griffith University’s Griffith Asia Institute (GAI) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate on economic development research and capacity building in Asia and the Pacific. Each institution brings a depth of expertise and regional networks which will be leveraged to enhance outcomes across a variety of potential cooperation opportunities. It is envisioned that the MOU will lead to the development of several new initiatives to support both policymakers and development practitioners across the region.
The economic downturn the region has experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the importance of developing innovative solutions to support recovery; and in particular ensuring that economic recovery efforts support greater inclusion across multiple dimensions including social, economic and financial. In response, GAI has made great efforts to expand its partnerships and capabilities to address these issues.
Professor Caitlin Byrne, Director of GAI, remarked:
“We are delighted to enter into this new cooperation agreement with such an esteemed organisation and are excited about the opportunities it offers to Griffith University to progress our strategic objectives supporting inclusive growth and development in Asia and the Pacific.”
The initial collaboration between GAI and ADBI includes supporting the financial inclusion agenda of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), in cooperation with the Asian Development Bank and Griffith’s APEC Study Centre. This project will examine the potential role of central bank digital currencies to drive greater access and usage of formal financial products and services among the region’s unbanked. The project includes organisation of the annual APEC Asia-Pacific Financial Inclusion Forum which will bring together senior government officials and industry experts as part of a roundtable discussion on 17 June 2022.
GAI and ADBI are also currently developing a new major research initiative that will focus on ways to expand economic opportunities for the region’s poor and vulnerable populations stemming from COVID-19-driven digitalisation. The project will identify effective mechanisms to boost digital financial product and service usage and participation in the post-pandemic digital economy. It will draw upon diary-based surveys examining the use of smartphone-based financial services among households in Bangladesh and Indonesia, to be jointly conducted with MicroSave Consulting.