Multisectoral Support from Industry Groups and Foreign Chambers for the World Fintech Festival Philippines

Published December 5, 2020, 7:51 PM

by Len Amadora

Leading business groups, industry associations, and foreign chambers of commerce gather together in the World Fintech Festival (WFF), the globalized version of one of the world’s most prestigious tech events, the Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF), to collaborate on and accelerate the country’s forward momentum into digitalization. The innovation of industry verticals into the online arena is key to making the business community and the nation as a whole more competitive on the international level.  Participating in the week-long virtual convention from Dec. 7-11 are the following organizations which hail from both the private and public sectors: the Fintech Philippines Association (FPH); the Distributed Ledger  Technology Association of the Philippines (DLTAP); Impact Hub; the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NCIP); the Philippine Association for Digital Commerce  and  Decentralized  Industries (PADCDI); the British Chamber of Commerce; the Dutch Chamber of Commerce; the European Chamber of Commerce; and the French Chamber of Commerce. 

The WFF-Philippines is a first in the country, and organized by Geiser-Maclang Communications Inc. (GMCI), in partnership with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the SFF, with Globe as a co-presentor.  The global WFF’s  precursor, the prestigious SFF,  is attended by top-level executives in Asia, and gathered 60,000 leaders and decision-makers from 140 nations in 2019. 

WFF Philippines Convenor and GeiserMaclang Co-founder Amor Maclang, who will also be speaking in several sessions, explained the vision behind the convention, “The WFF-Philippines is the beginning of a movement to call the industry players and other stakeholders to digitize our country, especially using fintech, towards progress and development, using a whole-of-nation, whole-of-government approach. The past few years have seen an unprecedented reverse diaspora of the best and brightest technology players choosing to domicile in the Philippines. It is our time to shine.”

The European Center for Digital Competitiveness – Digital Riser Report 2020 has cited the Philippines as one of the region’s Digital Risers that are attracting international talent. In a previous press conference, SFF and WFF CFO Sopnendu Mohanty spoke of the significant potential that the Philippine fintech industry holds. It possesses a pool of bankable talents who are quick to adapt technological advancements, supported by a government that proactively collaborates with the private sector in order to push the country into becoming a digitally-inclined nation:  

Mohanty said, “The Philippines has always been on top of mind whenever I talk to investors, a country that must never be missed. This is evident in how the country showed its true strength amid the pandemic, a fitting time for fintech to flourish.”  

On the very first day of the convention, December 7, Chris Nelson, Executive Director of the British Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, will kick off the discussions by moderating the panel, “Fintech Growth: Powering up Communities, Cities, and the Entire Country.” This panel will provide an overview of the current Philippine fintech situation and the various factors in the economy and other nationwide sectors that make its growth and development imminent. To be discussed are the challenges that have to be addressed ito accelerate this growth as well as the advantages that a robust fintech sector can provide the country.

Arvie De Vera, the Director of the Distributed Ledger  Technology Association of the Philippines (DLTAP), will follow this up with a panel discussion on “ Banks and Fintech:  the Advantages that Mass Adoption Brings the Public.” The collective response of Filipinos as a nation to digital banking and fintech as a whole shall be tackled–from the active usage of e-wallets, patronage increase of electronic fund transfer services, and the government’s initiatives in boosting fintech in the country.

The first day will culminate in the panel discussion, “Breaking the Tech Glass Ceiling:  The Filipina as CEO ,Innovator, and Enterprising Leader,” showing how the innovation world has taken huge strides from its conventional setup of men dominating the sphere. Ces Rondario, Country Head of Impact Hub, and Maylis Charlat, the Executive Director of the French Chamber of Commerce, will lead the panel.

Trusted data exchange, open ecosystems, a distribution ledger with its digital currency — these are but a few of the digital building blocks that create a stronger foundation for the people’s economic empowerment. These platforms are explored in the panel, “Digital Pilipinas: Laying the Foundations for the People’s Economic Empowerment,”  and will be  moderated by National ICT Confederation of the Philippines’  (NICP) CEO Michael Tiu Lim on December 8.

Also on December 8 is the panel, “Setting Up the Infrastructure for the New Economy: the Rise of E-commerce in the Philippines,” moderated by Philippine Association for Digital Commerce  and  Decentralized  Industries (PADCDI) Founding Director Jayjay Viray. A deep dive on building the necessary systems and institutions for e-commerce in the Philippines, including strategies on how to navigate them in the new normal, shall be discussed.   

Jove Tapiador, Founding Director of the Fintech Philippines Association, will moderate the panel entitled “Technology to Contain Crises and Counter Economic and Societal Threats” on December 9. The discussion will center on data privacy and security, and optimizing tech to neutralize the forces that can derail business progress.

Meanwhile, on December 10, Don Paulino, Chairman of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and Shell Exploration’s Managing Director, will appear in the panel, “Digital Innovations and their Ecosystems”, which will explore the various economic hubs, supply chains, and marketplace communities that technological transformations give birth to. 

Aside from global recognition and the creation of jobs, WFF-Philippines Convenor and GMCI Co-founder Amor Maclang reiterates that the technological advancements happening in the country can trigger something closer to home to the Filipino: a reverse diaspora. She says, “The rising tech hubs in the near future will bring our OFWs back home—where they can contribute their talents and their time, advance a career and build businesses, while enjoying a happy and prosperous life with their families. It is a vision that technology can help us reach.”

 
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