The Pathfinder Foundation and VISA Inc in discussion to promote digitalization and financial inclusion in Sri Lanka
Posted on April 19th, 2021

The Pathfinder Foundation (PF)

The Pathfinder Foundation (PF) together with VISA Inc are conducting a series of discussions on promoting digitalization and financial inclusion in Sri Lanka. The PF, a non – partisan research and advocacy think tank is known to play a catalytic role in research and analysis aimed at contributing to economic policy reforms in Sri Lanka. In this endeavor, over the years, the Foundation has established a wide and effective network of academics, experts, senior government officials and policy – makers to promote economic reform in the country.

VISA Inc, along with its partners, have been working towards promoting digitalization and financial inclusion in the country. Their objective is to work towards introducing new technologies like contactless payments in Sri Lanka. However, the current pandemic has brought to the fore some key issues as well as opportunities and VISA would like to utilize this to create awareness and support digitalization in sectors, which are still heavily reliant on cash. VISA believes that areas such as MSME, Transit and Tourism will play a critical role in determining the recovery of Sri Lankan economy.

This initiative is spearheaded by Mr. Rajendra Theagarajah, Senior Visiting Fellow, Pathfinder Foundation and renowned banker, who, with his 36 years of experience in banking, both locally and internationally, is a veteran in the financial services sector.

Together the Pathfinder Foundation and VISA will conduct discussions with key stakeholders from industry, government, regulatory and think tanks in areas such as Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises and Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME & SMEs); AgriTech and FinTech and Tourism.  The workshops would investigate opportunities for Lankan businesses to develop themselves into strong sustainable enterprises playing their intended role in contributing to real economic growth in Sri Lanka.

The final output of the discussion series will be a Roadmap summarizing the problems facing the sector, possible solutions, role of the policy makers and role for private sector and MSME/SMEs, AgriTech & FinTech and Tourism.

The Roadmap will be presented to key government officials. The findings unlike many forums will not lament on subsidies and need for more protection but will examine the real ‘pain points’, highlight past successes stories that have overcome hurdles even during extreme domestic downturns so that a positive message of ‘can do’ rather than ‘why cannot do’ will be presented.

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