Agribank successfully concluded the Regional Policy Forum and the 75th Executive Committee Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA)
On the morning of July 20, 2022, at Melia Hotel - Hanoi, Agribank organized the Regional Policy Forum of the Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA) with the topic: “Promoting digital financial services as a critical vehicle to financial inclusion for farmer collectives”. In the afternoon of the same day, the 75th APRACA Executive Committee Meeting took place with the participation of 60 delegates from APRACA's member organizations.
APRACA's Regional Policy Forum held in Hanoi is the first large-scale in-person event after more than two years of online-only forum due to the Covid-19 pandemic with the participation of more than 60 international delegates and more than 60 delegates of Vietnam’s departments and agencies. Attending the Forum were also representatives of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), the Banking Strategy Institute, Vietnam Banks Association, representatives of ministries, departments and agencies of Vietnam and representatives of foreign organizations in Vietnam.
Making Forum opening remarks online from India, Mr. Chintala - Chairman of APRACA and also Chairman of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development of India thanked the Government, the State Bank of Vietnam for their permission and thanked Agribank for hosting this important forum. He noted that in order to support agricultural sustainable and comprehensive development and increase income for farmers, it is necessary to ensure financial management in agriculture, including the important role of financial inclusion development for agriculture - rural areas and farmers.
Attending and speaking at the Forum, SBV Deputy Governor Nguyen Kim Anh highly appreciated APRACA's contributions over the past 50 years to the development of agriculture and rural areas in the region, and affirmed the role of Agribank in the field of agricultural and rural development, poverty alleviation, economic and social development in Vietnam. Besides, the Deputy Governor shared about the implementation of the Vietnam national Financial Inclusion Strategy over the past 2 years and highlighted results achieved. The Deputy Governor noted that the Forum is an opportunity for the system of credit institutions in Vietnam, especially credit institutions operating in the fields of agriculture and rural areas, to share learning experiences so that no one is left behind in the development process of Vietnam as well as other countries in the region.
Within the framework of the Forum, Agribank General Director Tiet Van Thanh shared Agribank's performance results as well as contributions in promoting digital financial services for financial inclusion development in the fields of agriculture and rural areas in Vietnam. The General Director emphasized: “Agribank always looks forward to and is willing to participate in APRACA's activities, making efforts for the strong development of the Association. In the period when the world economy in general and financial-banking activities in particular are facing many difficulties and challenges like today, a mechanism of cooperation - consensus, mutual benefit and mutual support such as in APRACA is very useful for each member organization and for agricultural and rural development in the region”.
Also at the Forum, delegates discussed issues seen as important factors for development, including digital financial services and the application of financial technology for development of financial inclusion in rural areas and agriculture. The first technical session of the Forum focused on “Trends and opportunities in Digital Financial Services (DFS) to achieve inclusive and scalable models to support farmer collectives in Asia & the Pacific”. During this session, Chief General Manager of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development of India gave an overview to the delegates on the progress in the adoption of digital financial services in the region. A representative of the International Fund for Agricultural Development shared the organization's experience in developing digital financial services as a driver in increasing farmers' access to financial services. The Chief Executive Officer of Agricultural Development Bank of Nepal spoke about the experience in investing in digital financial services to support farmer collectives in Nepal. The second technical session was to share Vietnam's results and experiences for financial inclusion in rural areas and agricultural sector. The session took place with a very lively discussion of APRACA member organizations because these organizations are all active in the field of agricultural credit. The moderator of the second technical session, Agribank's Member of the Board of Directors Nguyen Tuyet Duong, provided a general overview of the situation of financial inclusion in the world, in the Asia-Pacific region and in Vietnam, the contribution of financial inclusion to Vietnam's socio-economic development.
Sharing at the Forum, Mr. Pham Minh Tu, Deputy Director of the Banking Strategy Institute presented the results that Vietnam has achieved in the process of implementing the national financial inclusion strategic goals and the solutions that Vietnam continues to implement to maximize the scope of implementation and the benefits that financial inclusion brings to people and the economy.
Representative of Agribank, Mr. Vu Tan Bang - Director of Agribank's Strategic Planning Department shared with the Forum about Agribank's contribution to the development of financial inclusion in agriculture and rural areas and in supporting farmers. As an institution whose goals and mission are in line with the goals of financial inclusion, Agribank is the bank that provides over 40% of the total credit capital of the entire banking system for the development of agriculture and rural areas in Vietnam. It is also a credit institution that plays an important role in the implementation of many national target programs of the Government on poverty reduction, development of agriculture, rural areas and farmers.
During the discussion session, delegates from countries asked questions, made assessments, and introduced effective initiatives and policies that have been implemented in their countries and organizations with the expectation of sharing best practices and benefiting each member of APRACA.
Making closing remarkts at the Forum, Vice Chairman of APRACA who is also Chairman of Agricultural Development Bank of China thanked distinguished participants for their enthusiastic participation, and highlighted the issues that APRACA members can continue to discuss and share for the development of APRACA.
In the afternoon of the same day, the 75th EXCOM Conference was held with the participation of 18 official members of the Executive Committee and more than 40 delegates from member organizations. The conference was chaired by APRACA Chairman and moderated by APRACA Secretary General with the purpose of reviewing activities of the first six months of 2022 and giving direction and tasks of the last six months for the Association. After listening to the APRACA Secretary-General's detailed report on the 10 main agendas, the delegates discussed, commented, and made suggestions for each agenda item. The conference achieved the consensus and support of EXCOM members along with the consensus of the attendees.
APRACA is one of four regional and international associations of which Agribank is a member. Having realized the stewardship role of the Association in the region and in international forums, the similarity of operational goals, Agribank joined and became a member of the APRACA Executive Committee since 1991. Agribank held the position of rotating Chairman of APRACA from 2008 to 2010 and hosted many events such as the 16th Plenary Meeting in 2008 as Chairmanship, Executive Committee Meetings (EXCOM) in 2008, 2009, 2010, events such as FINPower Forum in 2008, Conference on Credit - Production - Marketing in 2009, Agricultural Credit Conference 2014. Agribank was trusted and appointed by APRACA 3 times to participate in the Special Committee for the selection of APRACA Secretary General for terms from 2008 to 2016. APRACA's activities not only bring benefits and cohesion to members, but also bring the voice of credit institutions operating in the fields of agriculture and rural areas to international forums, affirming the important role of the Association in the region and in the world.
With more than 34 years of development, Agribank has always affirmed its position and pioneering role as the leading State-owned commercial bank in Vietnam in the field of agriculture and rural areas, actively contributing to hunger eradication, poverty alleviation, ensuring social security, restructuring the agricultural sector, and building new-style rural areas. As of June 30, 2022, Agribank had total assets of over USD 73.7 billion, mobilized capital of over USD 67 billion, total outstanding loans to the economy of over USD 57.2 billion, the largest branch network in Vietnam with 2,224 branches and transaction offices operating in all provinces and cities, even in remote mountainous, border and maritime areas across the the country to help farmers access financial services, effectively implement the national financial inclusion strategy. Agribank ranks highest in the Vietnamese banking system in terms of market share of capital mobilization, credit and retail customers; leads other Vietnamese banks in global brand finance ranking. Agribank is assigned Ba3 by Moody’s for issuer ratings and long-term local and foreign currency deposit ratings, equivalent to Vietnam's national rating.
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