UIII's SF Updates: How Digital Economics Improve Sustainability in Finance?

January 05, 2024

Contributor: Rashid Shabir Abbasi | Editor: Supriyono

UIII.AC.ID, DEPOK -  Sandy Permadi, Chairman of Advisia Group, delivered a thought-provoking presentation on "How the Digital Economics Improve Sustainability in Finance" at the SF Updates series, held on December 14, 2023, by the Master’s program in Sustainable Finance at the Faculty of Economics and Business of Universitas Islam International Indonesia (UIII).

Commencing his lecture with a discussion on the lack of financial services and infrastructure in developing countries, Mr. Permadi emphasized that nearly one-third of adults worldwide do not have access to basic banking services. The unmet demand for financial credit around the world by micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) amounts to USD 8.1 trillion, equivalent to 40% of the world’s GDP.

“Improving financial inclusivity and providing support for MSMEs and marginalized communities are crucial components of the United Nations' 2030 Sustainable Development Goals,” he highlighted.

The concept of Digital Finance emerged with the application of technologies such as big data, cloud computing, and blockchain. Mr. Permadi explained that Digital Finance involves the digitalization of the financial industry, adopted by financial institutions and internet-based companies, including Fintech firms.

Reports from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicate that inclusive digital finance contributes over 2% to annual global GDP growth. Mobile payment technology, as per the Global Association for Mobile Communication Systems (GSMA), has granted one billion people worldwide access to convenient financial services as of 2019.

Mr. Permadi highlighted three pivotal features of Digital Finance that alleviate the challenges faced by traditional finance. First, it boasts a high capacity for acquiring and processing information, as the data essential for financial risk analysis is readily available, consequently reducing the risks associated with adverse selection and moral hazards.

Secondly, Digital Finance enables instant cross-spatial information dissemination, liberating users of financial services from geographical constraints, and third, it leverages a low marginal cost effect, allowing it to achieve economies of scale more efficiently compared to traditional financial institutions.

To illustrate the transformative impact of Digital Finance on financial efficiency and sustainability, Mr. Permadi presented two compelling case studies. Ant Financial's "310" loans that require only three minutes to apply, one second to approve, and zero human interactions to use, have served over 20 million Chinese MSMEs as of June 2020. Notably, 80% of these businesses obtained operating loans for the first time, showcasing the tangible impact of digital finance on financial inclusion.

In addition, the introduction of QRIS by Bank Indonesia in January 2020 has witnessed widespread adoption among MSMEs, cafes, restaurants, and entertainment outlets. This interoperable system, replacing unique QR codes used by different e-wallet operators, has resulted in significant transaction volume and value increases for banks like PermataBank and Bank Central Asia.

In his concluding remark, Mr. Permadi asserted that digital economics is a powerful tool in enhancing the breadth and depth of adoption of financial services among low-income individuals and MSMEs. The examples presented showcase how digital finance can not only improve financial efficiency but also contribute to the broader mission of sustainable financial inclusion.

Part of the SF Updates series, the event with Mr. Permadi served as a platform for stimulating discussion on the intersection of digitalization and finance, setting the stage for future advancements in the field.