APEC Finance Ministers Call for Economic Resilience and Financial Inclusion
Santiago, Chile, 15 October 2019
Ministers of Finance from across the Asia-Pacific convened at the APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting in Santiago, Chile, to address developments in the global economy and take action to safeguard the region’s growth.
Ministers discussed the global and financial economic outlook, including key issues and risks for APEC economies and appropriate policy responses to the current state of the world economy.
Weakening global growth has increased downside risks for a regional economy that represents 60 percent of the world’s GDP and 47 percent of global trade in 2018. The APEC region is an economic juggernaut, nearly tripling the size of its economy since the forum’s launch in 1989.
Finance Minister Felipe Larrain of APEC host economy Chile described the forum as playing an important role in addressing regional macroeconomic issues as well as domestic and regional financial policy priorities, which has helped shepherd the region’s growth trajectory.
“Multilateral domestic policy actions are vital to placing global growth on a stronger footing. Especially if we want to continue to achieve APEC’s overarching objective of creating greater prosperity for the people of the region,” said Minister Larrain, who serves as Chair of the meeting.
To ease the challenges presented by global uncertainty, ministers called for flexible fiscal policies that will create jobs and foster investment while also maintaining sustainable levels of public debt.
APEC ministers also highlighted the opportunities offered by the digital economy and evolving technologies, specifically for strengthening financial supervision across industries.
Technological innovations also present opportunities to enhance financial inclusion and financial literacy. One third of the 1.6 billion adults worldwide who were ‘unbanked’ in 2017 live in the APEC region.
The meetings, organized under the APEC Finance Ministers’ Process, conclude a week of events that convened senior officials from the region’s Finance Ministries and Central Banks to share best practices on important issues, including credit reporting systems and the impact of environmental management and governance on financial markets.
Ministers also echoed the call to enhance economic resilience by improving the economies’ approaches to disaster risk financing and insurance critical in a region vulnerable to natural disasters. Disaster risk financing can help economies struck by disaster events that inflate government spending.
In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Chile, private insurance companies received over 230,000 claims which were met in 10 months – equivalent to roughly nine years in normal issuances - leading to losses equivalent to almost 20 percent of the GDP.
“Economies shared experiences on disaster risk finance strategies and solutions to minimize governments’ financial exposure to disasters, risk transfer and risk sharing,” explained Minister Larrain.
The APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting precedes APEC Economic Leaders’ Week, to take place in Santiago, Chile, on 11-17 November 2019.
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