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PM Modi Launches IFC Initiative to Help 1.7 Billion Unbanked Adults

Singapore, November 14, 2018 — Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi today launched the API Exchange (APIX), the world’s first cross-border, open-architecture API marketplace and sandbox platform where financial institutions and fintechs can collaborate, at the Singapore Fintech Festival.
APIX, an IFC initiative under the ASEAN Financial Innovation Network (AFIN), enables financial institutions and fintechs to collaborate with each other on a curated, global marketplace.
The platform also encourages them to co-design and experiment with new financial products and services within a virtual and secure sandbox environment.
The platform will enable financial institutions to launch new products and services, thereby expanding access to finance for underserved households and businesses.
The latest Global Findex 2017 report shows that about 1.7 billion adults are still unbanked – about half of whom are women.
“IFC is committed to promoting financial inclusion through innovative solutions in emerging markets,” said Vivek Pathak, IFC Regional Director of East Asia and the Pacific.
“This world-first platform will drive digital transformation and financial inclusion across Asia-Pacific – and soon, the world,” he added.
Prime Minister Modi’s endorsement has highlighted policy maker’s support for innovation and is expected to spur Indian start-ups to connect with ASEAN banks and financial institutions via the platform. India is home to 190 million unbanked adults, the second highest number in the world.
The Union Bank of the Philippines, one of early participants in AFIN and a pioneer in leveraging APIs in the financial sector, has benefited from the APIX platform and shared their experience with the crowd at the festival.
The Abu Dhabi Global Market is the first regulator member of the APIX platform outside ASEAN. This partnership will reach out to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
During the festival, APIX attracted over 56 financial institutions and 157 fintechs to pre-register for the platform.
APIX is a platform of the ASEAN Financial Innovation Network (AFIN), which was established earlier this year by the IFC, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and the ASEAN Bankers Association (ABA) as founding members. Japan, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have provided funding.
A global consortium led by Virtusa – which includes Deloitte, Percipient and Fidor – was selected by AFIN to develop, implement and operate the APIX platform.
The Singapore Fintech Festival, now in its third annual edition, is the world’s biggest fintech event, with over 400 exhibiting companies from over 100 countries. Last year, the festival generated more than $2 billion investments.
About IFC
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org
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