Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that the development of financial technology, or fintech, should be a movement that can improve the lives of the world's most marginalized people.
"We are in an age of a historic transition brought about by technology: From desktop to cloud, from internet to social media, from IT services to internet of things, we have come a long way in a short time," Modi said at the Singapore FinTech Festival on Wednesday morning.
Modi, who is in Singapore for the East Asian Summit and to meet leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said history has shown that the financial industry is often the first to embrace new technologies and connectivity.
"There is daily disruption in businesses, the character of the global economy is changing — Technology is defining competitiveness and power in the world and it is creating boundless opportunities to transform lives," he said.
The Indian prime minister, along with Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, formally launched on online marketplace that will connect technology start-ups and financial institutions in Asia and beyond. The platform — known as APIX, or API Exchange — was first announced in September.
One of its aims will be to drive financial inclusion across Asia Pacific, and to create a regulated space for financial institutions and fintech firms to collaborate and experiment on new technologies. It will be developed and operated by a global consortium led by technology company Virtusa.