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Meet our G20/B20 Project Manager, Ken Swari Maharani!



Welcome to the team, Ken! Can you tell us a little about yourself and your experience?

In my previous role, I was the Strategic Engagement Manager in Partnership for Indonesia's Sustainable Agriculture (PISAgro), a multi-stakeholder platform led by the agri-business industry aiming to address challenges in the agricultural sector and improve the livelihoods of farmers. I was responsible for facilitating the activities of 10-commodity-based Working Groups and leading the monitoring, evaluation, and learning process.

Prior to this role, I was involved in a sustainable finance program in Indonesia led by the International Finance Corporation – World Bank Group. Over the four years I was there, I worked closely with Indonesia's Financial Services Authority and banking institutions to support the implementation of sustainable finance, including capacity-building programs, and drove research on sustainable finance policies.

I have been fortunate to work with different industries, from banking institutions to non-governmental organizations. I hope my past experiences will contribute to the work, and I am excited to upgrade my skills, expand my knowledge, and create more impact with Grow Asia.

Could you tell us a little about your new role at Grow Asia? Why is this work important?

As the G20/B20 Project Manager, I will be leading Grow Asia's programming around the upcomingG20 and B20 Summits in Indonesia. Examples of this work include organizing multi-stakeholder roundtables with the B20 Task Force and Committee and developing policy recommendations to support the development of more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable food systems. The work falls under Grow Asia's broader commitment to promoting more responsible investment in food, agriculture, and forestry, and aligns with the B20's commitment to improving access to finance for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Grow Asia's participation in the Summit will help set the narrative on how agri-finance can provide solutions for economic growth for Southeast Asia's economies and the rural enterprises which are at their center.

"Recover together, recover stronger" – the G20 slogan this year – guides global discussions on economic strategies to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Indonesia, who is holding the presidency, can use this position not only to showcase its economic resilience amidst the crisis but also to demand collective action towards solving urgent issues, especially regarding digital and economic transformation. Not to mention, Indonesia will hold the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2023. As such, Indonesia's presidency at the G20 Summit should also represent the voices of developing countries, particularly those of Southeast Asian countries. This momentum can help align the direction of the Summit with ASEAN's priorities.

The dialogues during the Summit are expected to encourage G20 country leaders to find solutions for world economic recovery. MSMEs have been proven to be key players in boosting economies across the globe but, at the same time, have been highly impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic. Accelerating MSMEs' capacities and opportunities is critical to reaching inclusive, sustainable, and resilient economic development post-pandemic. In the agricultural sector, there is a need to improve the limited access to finance and access to markets for MSMEs. Through this Summit, the G20 countries should be encouraged to participate in an expanding global supply chain that could increase the productivity of MSMEs.

How can our partners get involved with Grow Asia around the G20 and B20 Summit?

This Summit is good timing for Grow Asia's partners to participate in the global dialogue to raise the issue of inclusive global value chains in the agricultural sector in Southeast Asia. With the support from the B20 Task Force and Committee, Grow Asia will facilitate multi-stakeholder dialogues and integrate our partners' insights and recommendations within the official documents developed for G20/B20 country leaders. Our partners, from the business sector and civil society, can address collaborative initiatives to create a better ecosystem for MSMEs to unlock their economic potential significantly. In addition, it is also essential to understand the perspectives from across the region. Each country might have similar challenges but in different contexts and require different innovative solutions in agri-finance to accelerate the role of MSMEs. Integrating our learnings from our CPs will be a considerable contribution for our recommendations at the G20 Summit.

What are your priorities for your first 100 days in this role?

My key priority is to drive engagement with the B20 Task Force and Committee. It is important to understand their priorities, so we can start exploring our support and partnership with them. Within these first 100 days, I will focus on these main activities: 1) conducting two international-level dialogues in collaboration with the B20 Task Force and Committee relevant to agri-finance solutions to improve the inclusion of SMEs; and 2) producing policy recommendations for the G20/B20 country leaders on inclusive global value chains. In addition, with the support of Grow Asia's Country Partnerships, I hope to understand and include regional interests and voices in the Summit.


Ken can be reached at ken@growasia.org. To learn more about Ken, you can read her bio here.


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