Visa partners Grow Asia as Business Council Co-Chair to support financial inclusion for smallholder farmers in Southeast Asia

Visa partners Grow Asia as Business Council Co-Chair to support financial inclusion for smallholder farmers in Southeast Asia

As a council member and co-chair of Grow Asia Business Council in 2023, Visa will enhance the knowledge and capacity of Grow Asia’s programs to integrate digital financial solutions, promoting financial inclusion for smallholder farmers and addressing livelihood challenges in the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Papua New Guinea.

Manila, 4 December 2023 – Visa has been elected as the incoming Co-Chair of the prestigious Grow Asia Business Council, a high-level advisory body bringing together company leaders to help shape Grow Asia’s partnerships to develop a robust and market-driven approach, and to lead by example through investing in viable projects on the ground. Grow Asia was established in 2015 by the World Economic Forum – in collaboration with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – to build market-driven solutions for sustainable food systems in Southeast Asia.

As announced at COP28 this year, Visa will join the incumbent co-chair, East-West Seed, which stands among the world’s largest vegetable seed companies, serving 23 million smallholder farmers worldwide. As Grow Asia’s Business Council Co-Chair and exclusive Digital Financial Inclusion Partner, Visa is supporting the design and deployment of Grow Asia’s Public Private Impact Funds, in collaboration with other partners in the Grow Asia Network. The collaboration spans three years from July 2022 to June 2025. In the first year of partnership with Grow Asia, Visa participated actively in more than 30 multi-stakeholder events across the region and co-contributed to the design and scale-up of SMB-targeted projects and trainings in Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Cambodia. 

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Financial inclusion is a cornerstone for prosperity in Southeast Asia, where small and medium sized businesses contribute to 44.8% of the region’s GDP. Despite the critical challenges posed by climate change and availability of innovative scalable solutions, the region’s adoption of climate-resilient practices is hindered by economic and accessibility barriers. Digitalization and financial inclusion of smallholder farmers and rural businesses can bridge this economic gap and build resilient livelihoods. 

In its role as Business Council Co-Chair with Grow Asia, Visa will enhance the knowledge and capacity of Grow Asia’s programs, integrating digital financial solutions, promoting financial inclusion for smallholder farmers, and addressing livelihood challenges in Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Papua New Guinea. 

“This engagement marks a significant step forward in our mission to uplift everyone, everywhere through digital financial inclusion,” said Jeff Navarro, Country manager for the Philippines.“Financial inclusion for smallholder farmers is at the heart of sustainable development in the Philippines, and by collaborating closely with Grow Asia and other members of Grow Asia’s Advisory Councils, we aim to unlock new opportunities for digital finance to drive climate resilience in the agri-food sector.” 

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Visa’s commitment to leveraging digital financial inclusion to drive sustainable growth in Asia extends beyond its co-chair role, with significant strategic investments into Grow Asia’s flagship impact funds. These funds include GrowVentures which focuses on Agri-Food Innovation; GrowHer on Women’s Economic Empowerment; GrowRight on Responsible Investing; and GrowBeyond on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience.

“We are pleased to welcome Visa as the incoming Co-Chair of our Business Council,” said Beverley Postma, Executive Director – Grow Asia. “Visa’s appointment is timely and significant as we confront the biggest challenge to climate transition in Asia – how to channel affordable finance to the farmgate. Over 45% of agri-finance needs remain unmet in the region, and rural SMEs suffer a lack of access to working capital, which hampers their ability to increase productivity and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Visa’s vast experience in digital finance will greatly contribute to our collective mission of empowering smallholder farmers, governments, and agri-food enterprises, through the promotion of financial inclusion, while driving the adoption of climate-resilient practices, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the region’s food systems.”

Asra Mairaj
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Asra Mairaj is currently an intern at Panasiabiz. She stands ready to take the first step into her college life and start working for her aspiring career to become a famous and profound journalist. Asra has been previously associated with Sapne NGO and Journey App as a content writer. She tends to bring that experience and overwhelming dedication to make the idea of a knowledge centre space a reality here.