In collaboration with the LKY School, Visa developed a three-day programme for senior policy makers from Southeast Asia on innovations in the electronic payments space. Participants included officers from ASEAN Finance ministries, regulatory authorities, central and national banks. Executive Education spoke with Dr. John Barry, Head of Public Policy and Government Affairs, APCEMEA for Visa Inc. on best practices in e-payments.
EE: How important are electronic payment systems in Asia?
JB: Economic payment systems are a key component of economic opportunity and integration. They enable a safe and secure way for making payments domestically and across borders when people travel and they promote commerce and economic development.
Myanmar, for example, was traditionally a completely cash-based society. This meant international travelers had to bring large amounts of cash with them. The impact electronic payments is incredible. In less than one year, Visa has managed to establish partnerships with eight local banks, build out an ATM network of more than 180 ATMs and establish more than 500 points of sale. This enables local businesses to expand their consumer base and increase their revenues.
Today, there are approximately two million people in Myanmar with formal bank accounts. With a population of more than 60 million people, the impact that a mobile payment solution could include much more of the population and provide greater efficiency to the overall economy.
EE: What are the biggest benefits of public-private collaboration in the area you work?
JB: The benefit of any partnership is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This is true with successful public-private collaborations. Visa brings more than 50 years of expertise in the payments industry, along with our global reach and investment in technology and innovation to share with the public sector partners who have the contacts and provide an enabling environment for development. These positively impact areas such as tourism and financial inclusion.
EE: What do you hope to achieve with this course at LKY School?
JB: We firmly believe that the most effective and efficient public policies are based on knowledge and an active ongoing dialogue between the public and private sector. The LKY School is a leading public policy institution in Asia with exceptional experience having worked with more than 10,000 public sector leaders. We see this as an effective platform for enabling collaboration and sharing knowledge across nations for regulators.
Dr. John Barry is Head of Public Policy and Government Affairs, APCEMEA for Visa Inc.