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A new book from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, Asian Development Bank Institute and Asian Development Bank looks at how the pandemic accelerated digital technology in finance. 


Cambridge’s evolution as an innovation hub from the founding of the Cambridge Philosophical Society in the early 1800s; the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the double helix structure of DNA in the 1950s; to pioneering work in the 1990s on DNA sequencing and world-leading efforts today on cell reprogramming, now attracting significant interest from industry and investors.

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School (CCAF), the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) jointly launch on 3 August a book, Fintech and COVID-19: Impacts, Challenges, and Policy Priorities for Asia, which considers how the global pandemic has accelerated adoption of digital technology in the financial sector and the role of fintech firms in supporting households and businesses during the crisis. 

The book brings together original research papers presented at a virtual conference on issues related to fintech and COVID-19 (Coronavirus), and their implications for economies in Asia and the Pacific, as well as globally. Additionally, the book highlights critical structural policy changes needed to ensure an efficient and safe fintech environment that prioritises consumer protection as well as financial stability. 

Edited by John Beirne, Vice-Chair of Research & Senior Research Fellow at ADBI, James Villafuerte, Senior Economist at ADB, and Bryan Zhang, Co-founder & Executive Director at CCAF, the book curates contributions and papers from leading public and private institutions, development bodies and academia. 

Part I of the book is focused on the impact of fintech on consumers, businesses and the macroeconomy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Part II considers post-pandemic policy implications for enhancing fintech’s effect on inclusive growth. 

“Providing empirical data and insights on FinTech development in Asia during the global pandemic, this book illustrates how digital financial services can contribute to economic recovery, advance financial inclusion, support MSMEs, empower women and help low-income households,” says Bryan Zhang, Co-founder & Executive Director, CCAF. “It also highlights the importance of policymaking and regulation in creating an enabling environment for financial innovation whilst protecting consumers and ensuring financial stability.” 

“With a focus on Asia, the book highlights the key role played by fintech during the pandemic to sustain businesses and alleviate the extent of the negative economic effects of the pandemic,” says John Beirne, Vice-Chair of Research & Senior Research Fellow, ADBI. “Important insights are also provided on the types of policies, including on digital infrastructure, digital literacy and financial regulation, that can help to underpin fintech’s post-pandemic contribution to sustainable growth and development.” 

The book is due to be formally launched at the 2022 Singapore Economic Review Conference in Singapore on 3 August.

Visit the Asian Development Bank (ADB) website to download a free copy of Fintech and COVID-19: Impacts, Challenges, and Policy Priorities for Asia.

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