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Governance and public sector management, Industry and trade, Information and Communications Technology, Private sector development

The value creation potential of platforms

The value creation potential of platforms
The rapid success of modern platforms is a testament to their ability to scale efficiently to the needs of many while providing an undeniable and significant advantage over the older methods that had so far dominated value exchanges. Powered by the public Internet and robust local connectivity, digital platforms rose to the challenge of developing newer, more efficient alternatives in their respective focus areas.

Finance sector development, Information and Communications Technology

Closing the gender gap in peer-to-peer lending

Closing the gender gap in peer-to-peer lending
Financial inclusion for women has been embraced by policy makers as an important development priority. However, despite women having lower risk preferences and higher creditworthiness, the gender gap in access to finance is still prevalent in the traditional credit market. This is due to various factors, such as differences in employment opportunities, legal obstacles, cultural norms, and limited access to the guarantee mechanism, among others.

Education, Information and Communications Technology

E-learning to enhance capacities in Asia and the Pacific

E-learning to enhance capacities in Asia and the Pacific
The digital age poses both challenges and opportunities for many developing countries in Asia and the Pacific. In recent years, we have seen jobs in various sectors become obsolete. At the same time, we see new economic spaces being created demanding new skills and competencies. This also necessitates finding innovative ways to facilitate learning and to promote knowledge sharing, especially in the context of economic development.

Industry and trade, Information and Communications Technology, Private sector development

Expanding trade opportunities for SMEs in Asia and the Pacific

Expanding trade opportunities for SMEs in Asia and the Pacific
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the Asian economy. They already account for over 95% of all businesses in Asia and employ an estimated 60% of the region’s workforce (Mastercard and the Economist Intelligence Unit 2019). Hence, helping SMEs grow can translate directly into economic and workforce expansion.

Finance sector development, Governance and public sector management, Information and Communications Technology

Will Facebook’s Libra scramble the regulatory calculus for crypto assets?

Will Facebook’s Libra scramble the regulatory calculus for crypto assets?
There are currently over 2,000 crypto assets like Bitcoin that can be exchanged for goods and services in many countries anonymously, instantaneously, and at any time. These emerging forms of private sector money, or crypto currencies, provide their own units of account and are based on ledger technology such as blockchain which makes the falsification of transaction data difficult. Unlike cash, transactions using crypto assets are also technically traceable and a positive or negative interest rate can be charged, potentially improving the effectiveness of monetary policy.

Capacity development, Education, Information and Communications Technology, Social development and protection

T20 and realizing education for all in the Digital Age

T20 and realizing education for all in the Digital Age
Education is a key driver for sustainable development (UNESCO 2018). However, the goal of realizing education for all in the Digital Age faces two major challenges. First, many countries and economies are still not ensuring quality education for all. Millions of children and youth still lack the necessary tools to realize their potential amid economic, political, and social strife. Second, with the emergence of the fourth Industrial Revolution and the growing use of automation, big data, and artificial intelligence, human labor is being substituted increasingly by machines or algorithms.

Economics, Industry and trade, Information and Communications Technology

The spillover effects of digital platforms

The spillover effects of digital platforms
“Over-the-top” (OTT) service providers are referred to as so because they allegedly ride exclusively on top of the infrastructure laid by telecommunications service providers. Hidden behind the term OTT is the notion that such providers do not invest in the network infrastructure yet provide the same services as telecommunications service providers. While this may seem intuitive to some through a cursory examination of the marketplace, what such assertions fail to consider are the numerous “edge-of-the-network” investments by OTT service providers as well as the massive efficiency, flexibility, and propensity-to-scale inherent in OTT business models.

Economics, Finance sector development, Information and Communications Technology

Fintech adaptation can bridge Asia’s SME financing divide

Digital innovation can improve financial access for SMEs
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role as a driving force in economies around the world, especially in Asia. SMEs in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region are estimated to comprise more than 98% of the total number of enterprises, and they contribute to around 40% of gross domestic product.

Economics, Industry and trade, Information and Communications Technology

What can services trade policy do for sustainable development?

What can services trade policy do for sustainable development?
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has many services dimensions; improved access to and provision of services are necessary for attaining many of the Sustainable Development Goals. Because of their effects on competition in services markets and the ability of foreign providers to supply services to consumers and firms in developing countries, services trade policies should be considered in the arsenal of policy instruments that can be used in efforts to realize sustainable development objectives. 

Economics, Information and Communications Technology

Productive services with the help of internet technologies

Productive services with the help of internet technologies
One long-standing concern in the economic field has been that services contribute little to economic development. Services would suffer from a so-called Baumol’s cost disease (Baumol 1967), meaning factors such as labor cannot be easily substituted for more productive factors using existing technologies, as it happens in manufacturing. Over time, this would lead services to become a drag on the economy relative to other more productive industries.