The Financial Inclusion Network-Bangladesh (FIN-B), an initiative of the Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM), provides a platform to develop, share and disseminate knowledge and expertise in financial inclusion through stimulating exchanges, developing collaboration and supporting its members to develop as centres of excellence in their preferred areas of inclusive finance.
The principal aim is to leverage expertise in advancing financial inclusion as a key instrument for poverty reduction and inclusive growth and development in Bangladesh. The Network is a unique platform to bring together all financial sector stakeholders including government organisations/financial regulators/banks/MFIs/NGOs/financial institutions/local government and grassroots organisations for sharing ideas and best practices from home and abroad. FIN-B seeks to provide various services in an efficient, socially responsive, transparent and sustainable manner that encourages experience, resource sharing and promotion of best practices.
Since poverty, extreme poverty in particular, is not limited to a lack of economic resources but also to the absence of access to the wider means to live a life in human dignity, being poor is multidimensional, encompassing both deprivations and lack of capabilities. As such, no single correct definition of poverty exists, and we need to include particular social, cultural and historical contexts for identifying the poor. Policy implications thus differ according to how poverty is defined and effective poverty reduction measures need to integrate the views of the people living in poverty and extreme poverty as well.
‘Putting the financial needs of the extreme poor first’ means that we must develop financial products and services that meet the needs of the poorest and the most vulnerable populations. The organisations (e.g. NGO-MFIs) entering into partnerships with InM will commit themselves to work with all stakeholders to help design and test these products. As we develop products that meet the needs and aspirations of those in extreme poverty at prices they can afford, this will improve the efficiency of the overall financial system. This will also put in place the mechanisms for achieving ‘Finance for All’.
This regional dialogue with relevant government organisations, local government institutions (LGIs), NGO-MFIs, development practitioners and other agencies including government officials will bring together the ground realities for addressing extreme poverty and restore human dignity in specific contexts. This is likely to help innovate new pathways of addressing extreme poverty and integrate the hard core poor communities and financial inclusion issues. To better reach the poorest and most vulnerable populations, we shall ensure that we include women, children, the elderly, the disabled, marginal communities, and the members of cultural and religious minorities.
To facilitate cross-learning across all relevant stakeholders (e.g. government institutions, LGIs, NGO-MFIs, Concern Worldwide Bangladesh, InM, FIN-B members, development practitioners and the extreme poor communities) to help design, test, and scale up products and services that both reach those living in extreme poverty and facilitate their journey out of extreme poverty.
To share and exchange views on how FIN-B, InM and similar organisations can effectively support sustainable financial inclusion of these vulnerable groups and facilitate their graduation out of poverty.
The first two-day long FIN-B International Conference and Inclusion Fair 2019 was held at the Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh in Dhaka on 30 July 2019. This was organised by the Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM) in collaboration with event partners including SHIFT SAARC of UNCDF, Concern Worldwide, Bank Asia Limited, bKash, Water.org, and Business Finance for the Poor-Bangladesh (BFP-B) project of DFID/UKAid. The first day of the Conference was attended by policymakers, researchers, and representatives from banks, microfinance institutes, government agencies, insurance companies and civil society, among others.
Dr. Mashiur Rahman, Adviser on Economic Affairs to the Prime Minister inaugurated the Conference as the chief guest while the Chairman of InM, Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad chaired the inaugural session. Dr. Mustafa K. Mujeri, Executive Director, InM welcomed the participants and hoped that the knowledge acquired from the conference would help innovate new pathways to promote the financial inclusion agenda. He added that the Conference would give significant opportunities for cross-learning across the diverse audience over the complex issues and challenges facing the financial inclusion for all agenda in Bangladesh.
Dr. Mashiur Rahman, in his speech, observed that“Bangladesh is a pioneer in financial inclusion with its strides towards ‘Digital Bangladesh’, rapid development of the financial sector, rich heritage in microfinance, and unprecedented gains in adopting digital finance and expanding mobile financial services. The government treats finance as a powerful tool of inclusive growth and shared prosperity”. He further observed that financial inclusion of the poorest; particularly their access to small-sized credit was a major tool in Bangladesh for combating poverty. He added that“whatever responsibilities we have to carry out, we must concentrate on them, and perform honestly; but we must, at the same time, work towards ensuring equitable and sustainable improvement in the circumstances of those who are now left behind; for them to enjoy universal human rights and live in a humanly dignified fashion.” Dr Rahman called for strengthening financial capabilities in several key areas including provision of financial education tools for better management of income, encouraging households to use long term savings products to effectively manage savings goals, providing clear implications of debt burden to facilitate responsibly borrowing, generating awareness on alternative risk coping mechanisms, education on exercising consumer rights and accessing grievance channels, and removing mindset barriers to using new financial products and services.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, InM delivered the ground-laying speech on the topic titled “Human Dignity and Financial Inclusion” in the first plenary which was the main theme of the conference. He observed that financial services not only have a positive impact at the individual and household levels but, if done sustainably and in suitable scales could have a broader positive impact on national development by helping to lower transaction costs, manage risks, and even mitigate economic inequality and foster human dignity. He added that financial, as well as non-financial interventions, were necessary to ensure socioeconomic progress and human dignity which played vital roles to ensure participation of persons in social activities, increase self-esteem and human freedom.
In the first academic session on the theme “Financial Inclusion Landscape in Bangladesh: Strengths and Weaknesses”, three papers were presented. The session was chaired by Mr Khondkar Ibrahim Khaled, former Chairman, Bangladesh Krishi Bank (BKB). Dr Atiur Rahman, former Governor of Bangladesh Bank chaired the second academic session where papers were presented by Major General Sheikh Md. Monirul Islam (retd.) of bKash, and Mr. Arfan Ali, President and MD of Bank Asia Limited, among others.
Prof, Arup Choudhuri, Chairman & CEO of Acasia Global Consulting LLP, India, in his keynote speech, spoke about the issues of financial inclusion, social inclusion and poverty alleviation in India. He discussed several case studies from India to give the audience a ground-level view of the dynamics of social changes. Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of PKSF & InM, chaired the session.
An informative presentation by Muhymin Chowdhury and Mabubur Rahman from BFP-B provided in-depths on Omni-channel distribution models as a source of competitive advantage for banks and financial institution. Mr. Feisal Hussain, Team leader, BFP-B Project moderated the session.
The second day of the conference was started with a keynote speech of former Governor of the Bangladesh Bank, Dr Atiur Rahman. In his keynote speech on “Leadership and Financial Inclusion”, highlighted the necessity of right leadership to implement financial inclusion agenda so that all excluded people, especially the poor and underprivileged segments of the society, get the benefit of financial inclusion and accelerate the pace of socioeconomic improvement. This was followed by the academic session on innovative models and approaches for financial inclusion in which several success cases were discussed along with their possibilities of replication.
A panel discussion on “How Can Digital Platforms Meet the Financing Gaps for MSMEs in Bangladesh?” was chaired by Md. Ashraful Alam, Country Project Coordinator, SHIFT SAARC, UNCDF.
Mr Rajeev Kumar Gupta, SHIFT Programme Manager-ASEAN & SAARC, UNCDF in his keynote speech on “Leveraging Data to Advance Financial Inclusion” explored the possibilities of using the right information to extend financial inclusion. The session was chaired by Professor S. R. Osmani, of the University of Ulster,
The learning session of the Conference on “Human Dignity and Financial Inclusion” was chaired by Dr Toufic Ahmad Choudhury, former Director-General, BIBM. In the session, issues of financial inclusion with human dignity was articulated by Mr Anir Chowdhury, Mr. Kamal Quadir, Mr. S. M. Rabiul Hassan, Ms. Laura Ralston and Dr. Mustafa K Mujeri.
The closing ceremony was chaired by Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad in which Dr Gowher Rizvi, Adviser on International Relation Affairs to the Prime Minister was present as the Chief Guest and Mr Ahmed Mushtaque Reza Chowdhury, former Vice-Chairman, BRAC was present as the special guest. In the session, it was agreed that the framework that has come out through the discussion in the Conference for promoting financial inclusion for the excluded and disadvantaged groups which upholds human dignity will have implications for our future policies and the interest and enthusiasm shown by the participants is indeed a good sign for the future.
During the two-day conference, a total of fifteen papers were presented by different experts on six different themes which provided an opportunity to the policymakers, financial experts, practitioners, academicians and stakeholders to discuss financial inclusion challenges, identify innovative solutions and share experience covering both demand and supply-side issues. It was agreed that the recommendations of the Conference would be crafted with a focus on four key aspects of financial inclusion: (i) a framework for promoting financial inclusion for the excluded and disadvantaged groups that uphold human dignity; (ii) codes of conduct and best practices for developing customised financial products and services; (iii) coordinated principles and strategies for financial literacy and education; and (iv) best practices for different stakeholders including banks, financial institutions, telcos, and the regulators. It was hoped that these recommendations would serve as a benchmark for the upcoming activities of the Financial Inclusion Network-Bangladesh (FIN-B).
The 1st FIN-B International Conference will be organised during 30-31 July 2019 with the participation of different stakeholders (including representatives of financially excluded individuals and enterprises) and marginalised sections of society. The knowledge acquired from different stakeholders will help innovate new pathways to promote the financial inclusion agenda. The Conference will give significant opportunities of cross learning across the diverse audience covering policy makers, financial experts, practitioners, academicians, and the people at large over many complex issues and challenges facing financial inclusion for all.
The papers, selected for presentation in the conference, may be published (if necessary, in abridged form) in Fin-Biz, the flagship journal of FIN-B.
There is much to be learned through voices from the deprived sections – what precludes them from getting financially included and what actions and policies are needed to facilitate their access to affordable financial products and services which will be delivered responsively and sustainably. The Conference will act as a national platform to discuss financial inclusion challenges, identify innovative solutions, and share experiences among the representatives across all stakeholders covering both demand and supply side issues.
The following themes are recommended for preparing the conference papers:
Financial Inclusion Landscape in Bangladesh: Strength and Weaknesses
Bangladesh’s Current State of Financial Inclusion: Barriers and Disparities
Regulatory and Policy Frameworks: Challenges and Opportunities
Technological Innovations, Agent Banking and Digital Financial Services
Designing Business Models for Financial Inclusion: Innovative Approaches and Success Cases
Measuring Financial Inclusion in Bangladesh: Indicators and Data Sources—Diversities and Complexities
Role of FIN-B: Enhancing Relevance and Effectiveness
Venue: 3D Seminar Hall, Krishibid Institute Bangladesh, Farmgate, Dhaka.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, the Chairman of Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM), a renowned socio-economic specialist and development thinker and practitioner of international repute, has been keenly promoting sustainable development in all its aspects. In a career spanning over four decades, Dr. Ahmad has extensively participated in research activities and dialogues, nationally and internationally, covering different social, political, economic, and environmental aspects and issues of sustainable development as they relate to Bangladesh and other developing countries. He has also been concerned in his research and related activities with governance with respect to both the nation state and the international system.
He has, over past several decades, relentlessly sought and promoted ways of achieving socially inclusive development. In this context, major focus of his research, action research, advocacy, and mobilisation activities has been covering issues related to reducing poverty and disparity in a sustainable way, and promoting equitable economic growth, sustainable employment generation for the downtrodden, empowerment of the downtrodden through education, training, and health services, establishment of rule of law; human rights, and environmental security. He has to his credit a wide range of research works on policy planning, food and agriculture, environment and water resources, rural development, poverty alleviation, human development, technology and employment generation, women in development and gender issues, etc., including 35 books and over 200 learned articles by himself or jointly with others published at home and abroad.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad is the current Chairman of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and the founder Chairman of the multidisciplinary research organisation Bangladesh Unnayan Parishad (BUP). He is also the Chairman of Governing Council and Director of Dhaka School of Economics (DScE). As Co-Chair of the 2010 National Education Policy (NEP) Formulation committee, he played the key role in formulating the NEP 2010, which has been acclaimed widely in the country, across political persuasions. He has been Regional Chair of Imagine a New South Asia (INSA), a people-centred process of South Asia regional cooperation and development.
He is the former President (2002-2010) of Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA), and a former Research Director at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS). He was the president of the Kuala Lumpur-based Association of Development Research and Training Institutes of Asia and the Pacific (ADIPA) and was Vice President of the Rome-based Society for International Development (SID).
He participated in the Bangladesh War of Liberation in 1971 and worked in the Planning Cell set up by the Bangladesh Government in exile. He received the Ekushey Padak awarded by the Government of Bangladesh in 2009 and The Independence Award, the highest state award in 2019.
He was a Coordinating Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)-Third Assessment (completed in 2001). He was also the Lead Author for IPCC Fourth Assessment (2004-2007) and is a member of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Team. He is also the Coordinator of Bangladesh Climate Change Negotiating Team, and a Member of the UNFCCC Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Executive Board. He has played a key role in preparing the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) 2009. He has also been the Convener of the Drafting Committee for the Country Report of Bangladesh “Rio 20: National Report on Sustainable Development” for the Brazil United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (June 2012).
Key Note Speaker
Prof. Arup Choudhuri
Chairman and CEO
Acasia Global Consulting LLP Kolkata, INDIA
Prof. Arup Choudhuri is the Chairman and CEO of Acasia Global Consulting LLP. He had been the Dean of Icfai Business School (IBS)- Kolkata and was the Director of Amity Global Business School in Kolkata India. His area of specialization is Enterprise Risk Management. He is a trainer of Risk and Compliance Management in banks of India (including State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, Central Bank of India , Bank of Baroda, ICICI Bank, Axis bank, Kotak bank), Bangladesh (Bangladesh Bank, Janata Bank, Sonali Bank, BRAC Bank, SIBL, Trust Bank, MTBL, UCBL and 24 more banks), Sri Lanka, Malaysia (May Bank), Thailand (Siam Central Bank), Germany (Commerzbank) and UK (Nat-West Bank).
Prof. Choudhuri had taken sessions on Micro-Finance and Financial Inclusion in International College of Financial Planning, New Delhi. He did similar programs in IDFC and Bandhan Bank. He initiated an effort of uniting and training the poor garment manufacturers in Howrah in Kolkata.
During his 25 years of academic experience as professor, researcher and trainer, he had been an advisor to the Department of Finance; Govt. of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Prof. Choudhuri is involved with several economic and financial researches with national and international level organizations like Dun & Bradstreet, KPMG, PWC and European Union.
Key Note Speaker
Dr. Atiur Rahman
Professor Department of Development Studies, Dhaka University. ▪ Former Governor, Bangladesh Bank (the Central Bank of Bangladesh) . ▪ ‘The Best Central Bank Governor Asia and Pacific, 2015’, awarded by the Banker (of the Financial Times). ▪ ‘The Central Bank Governor of the Year for Asia 2015’, awarded by the Emerging Markets (of the Euromoney). ▪ Winner of the ‘GUSI Pease Prize International 2014’, awarded by GUSI Foundation Manila. ▪ Member of the Advisory Board of the UNEP Inquiry on Designing ‘Global Sustainable Finance’. ▪ Well known for his campaign for Financial Inclusion. ▪ Indira Gandhi Gold Plaque 2011 for his outstanding contribution towards human progress ▪ National Literary Award (Bangla Academy Award) for 2015.
Dr. Rahman popularly known as the ‘Poor Peoples’ Economist’ and a Green Governor is a many times
awarded central bank governor with a human face. Son of a marginal farmer and a life-long campaigner
Dr. Rahman has demonstrated his commitment for empowering the poor and the disadvantaged both
as a teacher and a regulator.
The defining feature of his tenure as the Governor of the central bank of Bangladesh was his decisive
drive reorienting the institutional objectives and ethos to support a pro-poor, inclusive and sustainable
development model through his flagship initiatives of financial inclusion and environmentally benign
He is currently devoting his time in inspiring his students at the Dhaka University about how to
overcome the multifaceted challenges of development. In addition, he is travelling around the world
advocating inclusive sustainable development, green finance movement and promoting peace building
through participatory development.
He has published 56 books in English and Bengali, besides, numerous papers in national and
Key Note Speaker
Mr. Rajeev Kumar Gupta SHIFT Programme Manager – ASEAN & SAARC United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)
Rajeev works with UNCDF Bangkok office since 2016, as Programme Management Specialist – Inclusive Finance and performs the role of Programme Manager – Shaping Inclusive Finance Transformations (SHIFT), and Regional Coordinator – Making Access Possible (MAP) for ASEAN and SAARC countries.
Rajeev works to advance financial inclusion and economic participation by changing the behaviour of market actors to stimulate investment, business innovations, and regulatory reform in financial markets of ASEAN and SAARC. Rajeev through the programme, works on building an evidence base on women’s financial inclusion in the region and catalyse innovative partnerships to incubate market-led approaches to innovate, scale and replicate financial service interventions offering savings, credit, payments, remittances and insurance products.
Prior to joining as Programme Management Specialist, Rajeev worked as consultant with UNCDF on Nepal agriculture value chain finance programme, on developing Country Government led financial inclusion strategies, and setting up ASEAN Challenge Fund for co-financing private sector to innovate and upscale financial inclusion services.
Rajeev has over 20 years of experience in technical advisory and programme development roles, with a particular focus on financial and enterprise promotion services. Prior to UNCDF, Rajeev worked for more than a decade with BASIX, a livelihood and financial inclusion promotion organisation in India, where he was involved in range of financial inclusion interventions, in setting up State level livelihood mission, and heading the international consulting work in countries in South Asia, South-East Asia and Africa.
Rajeev did his Forestry Management from Indian Institute of Forest Management, and Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry (Hons) from Delhi University in India.
Chair Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad
Chairman, InM and PKSF
Vote of Thanks
Dr. Mustafa K. Mujeri
Executive Director, InM
The 1st FIN-B International Conference on ‘Financial Inclusion’ is organised by the Financial Inclusion Network- Bangladesh (FIN-B), an initiative of the Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM), in collaboration with its Conference and Media Partners.
FIN-B and InM have entered into a number of conference partnerships with organisations through the Conference Partnership Programme. This Partnership Programme provides mutual recognition and scope for Partner organisations to showcase their availability in the industry, their strengths, as well as engage in the development of projects and programmes with FIN-B and InM. Also, it provides strong recognition for financial inclusion related activities and emphasises our commitment to finance for all. A full list of FIN-B’s Partners is available below. FIN-B and InM would like to thank the following organisations for their support:
About Concern Worldwide:
Concern Worldwide is an international humanitarian organisation dedicated to tackling poverty and suffering in the world’s poorest countries. Sustained by the concern of our many supporters, we seek out those who most urgently need our support, and work with them, through thick and thin, to tackle poverty, hunger and disaster.
Concern has been fighting extreme poverty in Bangladesh since 1972. For over 48 years, we have worked relentlessly to reduce extreme poverty by focusing on three dimensions – lack of assets, risks and vulnerabilities, and inequalities. These three dimensions guide us in all of the work we do. Combining our expertise with the knowledge, and the support of tens of thousands of concerned people, together we energetically go beyond the quick fix to deliver real, sustainable improvements.
Working in this way, we build people’s individual and collective potential to make their lives better. This means that we can enable real long-term change in their communities. The respect in which our work is held internationally means our approaches spread far beyond our own programmes leading to exceptional global reach, understanding and impact.
We constantly bring our experience on the ground to bear on policy decisions made at a local, national and global level, thus ensuring we make the greatest possible impact on the lives of the world’s poorest people.
About Water.org: Co-founded by Matt Damon and Gary White, Water.org, a nonprofit organization pioneers innovative and sustainable solutions to the global water crisis, giving women hope, children health, people the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and communities a future. By March 2019 Water.org helped 21.2 million people living at the base of the pyramid in Africa, South Asia and Central America by providing affordable access to safe water and sanitation, mobilizing $ 1.7 billion capital through its 113 partners. Water.org envisions the day when everyone has access to safe drinking-water and the dignity of a toilet.
bKash is the leading MFS Provider in Bangladesh that started its journey in 2010 as a joint venture between BRAC Bank and Money in Motion LLC. Afterwards, IFC, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Ant Financial became its equity partners. It has been empowering people through digital financial innovation by providing safe, convenient and affordable financial solutions like Send Money, Add Money, Payment, Pay Bill and Mobile Recharge etc. Currently, bKash has more than 30 million registered accounts and over 200,000 agents across Bangladesh as of 2018. It has been ranked 23rd on Fortune’s ‘Change the World’ list in 2017.
Business Finance for the Poor in Bangladesh (BFP-B) is a £25m facility to create economic opportunities for small businesses by changing the behaviour of market actors in the financial sector. We are assisting financial institutions to design, test and roll out viable business models for the last mile, improving the policy and regulatory environment, inducing private sector investment and enhancing the credit worthiness of small businesses.
BFP-B is funded by UK aid and managed by Nathan. The Bangladesh Bank (BB), the central bank of Bangladesh, and Microcredit Regulatory Authority (MRA) are the implementing agencies, and the Financial Institutions Division (FID) of the Ministry of Finance (MoF), Government of Bangladesh (GoB), is the executing agency.
About SHIFT SAARC of UNCDF:
The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 least developed countries. Shaping Inclusive Finance Transformations (SHIFT) programme for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries, is a regional market-facilitation initiative of UNCDF that aims to improve livelihoods and reduce poverty rates in SAARC countries by 2021. The initiative seeks to stimulate investment, business innovations and regulatory reform to expand economic participation and opportunities for women, and help small and growing businesses to be active agents in the formal economy.
About Bank Asia
Bank Asia is a third generation private commercial bank in Bangladesh. It’s journey started on November 27, 1999. Initially, the Bank acquired the operation of two foreign Banks: The Bank of Nova Scotia of Canada and Muslim Commercial Bank of Pakistan, first ever in the banking history of Bangladesh. In last 19 years of journey, Bank Asia has created a distinctive brand image among the leading banks of the country for it’s technology driven sophisticated banking services. Bank Asia is the pioneer of Agent Banking that brings unbanked population within the fold of banking system and involved them to mainstream development.
About Financial Inclusion Television International (FITV)
Financial Inclusion Television International is an international media platform for Financial Inclusion and FINTECH, we specialise in the use of media, most importantly visuals to enhance the development of Financial Inclusion and FINTECH.
We also serve as a knowledge sharing platform with stakeholders in the industry. Our focus ranges from Financial Inclusion activities, Sustainable Development, FINTECH and other developmental initiatives.
FITV disseminates information globally to its teaming audience on all continents, we bring to fore media section of all events. We conduct and present interviews, stream webinars, conferences, workshops, lectures, documentaries from a global point of view on Financial Inclusion and Fintech programs.
We present, donors, clients, consumers, academia and other professional activities through videos and other media formats, with the aim of serving as an informative and educational resource centre.
For a global outreach share your services, programs, conference, webinars, seminars,
workshops, training and initiatives on Financial Inclusion Television International. With
Financial Inclusion Television International is your best platform.
About Daily Bonik Barta
Daily Bonik Barta has already established itself as one of the most credible leading national dailies in Bangladesh. Mr. Dewan Hanif Mahmud, a very prominent journalist of the country, is the CEO & Editor of Bonik Barta. The daily go over the best of its services at all times in various sectors since having about 141,500 subscribers as certified by DFP and 700,000 online readerships every day.
Since its initiation in 2011, it has demonstrated a sustainable growth in quality reporting. Bonik Barta strives to be a strong and reliable partner to the State’s Policy Makers and to their Strategic Partners, Business Community, Financial Institutions, Government Sector, Public & Private Corporations, and MNCs. Toady this daily has an extensive network of circulation across all districts and especially the major operation areas of the country.
Apart from readership Bonik Barta has corporate citizenship activities, Non-Fiction Book Fair, and numbers of publications. Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), one of the top Think Tanks Worldwide, has been strategic partner of two signature programs of Bonik Barta titled ‘Uddokta Sommanona’ and ‘Gunijon Songbordhona’ since 2014. Bonik Barta also arranges roundtables on important issues engaging sector specialists and regulators on regular basis.
Moreover, this daily is also emerging with an effective combination of expertise in Digital Print Media to cater thoughtful business insight to its readers and partners from an extended platform.
About Financial Express (FE)
The Financial Express (FE) is the first financial daily of Bangladesh in English under the ownership of the company — International Publications Limited which was incorporated under the Companies Act in the year 1993.
The FE started its journey on November 10, 1993. In terms of circulation, this daily now ranks second, among its contemporary English dailies, in Bangladesh.
The FE’s prime objective is dissemination of fair and objective news and information. FE keep its readers informed about the ongoing socio-economic and political developments daily through in-depth analyses, views and opinions on major domestic, regional and global trade, business and other related issues in its print and online editions.
The 1st International FIN-B Financial Inclusion Conference and Inclusion Fair 2019 will take place on 30-31 July 2019 at 3-D Seminar hall, Krishibid Institute Bangladesh (KIB), Dhaka. The Conference will give significant opportunities of cross learning across the diverse audience covering policy makers, financial experts, practitioners, academicians, and the people at large over many complex issues and challenges facing financial inclusion for all. Through a rigorous review process, total 15 (fifteen) papers have been accepted for presentation. The abstract of the papers (along with short bio and picture of the authors) is given below:
Academic Session 1
Financial Inclusion Index at District Levels in Bangladesh: A Distance-based Approach
Md. Rashel Hasan and Md. Ezazul Islam Chief Economist’s Unit, Bangladesh Bank, Dhaka
The study computes an index of financial inclusion (IFI) of Bangladesh at the district level by using a distance based approach and incorporating different dimensions of inclusive finance. The IFI indicates that most of the districts of Bangladesh have experienced significant progress in financial inclusion over the period, 2008 to 2018. Furthermore, the financial inclusion map reflects that the process of financial inclusion has accelerated at the end of 2010, after the inclusive finance policy initiatives undertaken by the Bangladesh Bank. The index has policy implications to pursue inclusive growth for reducing regional disparities to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Bangladesh.
Rashel Hasan is a Joint Director at Bangladesh Bank. He joined there in 2010 and currently working under Chief Economist’s Unit. Previously he served as Research Fellow at ICDDR,B during 2009-2010. Prior to joining ICDDR,B, Hasan worked for NGO Forum, a national NGO. His research focuses on financial development, financial inclusion, civil war and food insecurity. His work has been published in several international journals. Hasan has a MA in Development Studies (major in development economics) from the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands and also have MSc and BSc in Applied Statistics from University of Dhaka.
Dr. Md. Ezazul Islam works at Chief Economist Unit’s, Bangladesh Bank as General Manager since 2016. Prior to his current position, he was Research Economist at Policy Analysis Unit of Bangladesh Bank. He looks after the area of monetary policy, finance and economic growth, and economic research. His current research interest includes monetary transmission mechanism, financial inclusion, and macroeconomics. He published many articles on monetary transmission channels, interest rates, banking, financial inclusion and growth in referred Journal. He earned Ph.D degree on monetary economics.
Social Entrepreneurship for Social and Financial Inclusion in Bangladesh: Current Trends and Future Directions
Department of Economics, International Islamic University Malaysia
Although some initiatives like Grameen Bank and BRAC are globally cited as the successful models of social entrepreneurship (SE), the concept and application of SE is still in the embryonic stage in Bangladesh. Suitable policy framework for the growth of SE is still missing in Bangladesh. Over the past decades, profit-driven large and medium enterprises have grown across Bangladesh; but SE has been ignored that provides services to the society, solves community problems and improves the social condition of the mass people. Though a number of NGOs (Non-Government Organisations) and NPOs (Non Profit Organisations) have been working to provide solution to social problems, they are facing wide ranging challenges in terms of funding, operation and management. Operation on a long term basis may not be sustainable for those NGOs and NPOs which primarily depend on charitable sources. Despite all challenges, in a culturally and linguistically analogous country like Bangladesh, promoting and incentivising SE could be one of the best solutions to solve pressing social problems such as unemployment, poverty and extreme inequality. The SEs may provide a way for social and financial inclusion. The paper analyses existing models and trends of SE available in Bangladesh and concludes with a set of recommendations to develop policy roadmaps for encouraging SEs which are not only economically viable but also socially sustainable.
Foyasal Khan currently holds a position as a national consultant on ‘Islamic finance’ at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bangladesh. In April, 2019, he submitted his PhD thesis in economics at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). He also completed a master in economics (2013) from IIUM. He obtained his Bachelor of Economics (2009) and Master of Economics (2010) from the University of Dhaka (DU). He was the founding president of IIUM UNESCO Club and led Economics Study Center (2006-2008) at DU. His research interests include Social financing for SDGs, Economics of Islamic banking and finance etc.
Financial Inclusion Landscape in Bangladesh: Strengths and Weaknesses
Dr. Md. Ezazul Islam, Mst. Nurnaher Begum, and Raju Ahmed
General Manager, Chief Economist Unit; Deputy General Manager, Research Department; Assistant Director, Chief Economist Unit; respectively, Bangladesh Bank, Dhaka.
The paper reviews the current state of financial inclusion landscape in Bangladesh to find out strengths and weaknesses. The analysis shows that financial inclusion has been broadened and scaled up many fold over the last ten years. The study finds that the major strengths are the marginal farmers, sharecroppers, and women entrepreneurs who were excluded or underserved can access financial services due to pursuing credit policy of agricultural and CMSMEs, and scale up financial inclusion through agent banking and MFS in rural areas. The paper also highlights some weaknesses such as ‘the missing middle’ segment of MSMEs, existing higher interest rates, very low insurance coverage and delays to adopt NFIS which are critical for broadening financial inclusion in future.
Dr. Md. Ezazul Islam works at Chief Economist Unit’s, Bangladesh Bank as General Manager since 2016. Prior to his current position, he was Research Economist at Policy Analysis Unit of Bangladesh Bank. He looks after the area of monetary policy, finance and economic growth, and economic research. His current research interest includes monetary transmission mechanism, financial inclusion, and macroeconomics. He published many articles on monetary transmission channels, interest rates, banking, financial inclusion and growth in referred Journal. He earned Ph.D degree on monetary economics.
Mst. Nurnaher Begum works at Research Department, Bangladesh Bank as Deputy General Manager since 2013. Prior to his current position, he was Joint Director at the Research Department. She looks after the area of monetary policy, exchange rate policy and macroeconomic economic growth and issues. Her current research interest includes monetary and financial stability, financial inclusion, and exchange rate. She published many articles on banking, reserve management, exchange rate and remittances in referred Journal. She earned post graduate degree on economics.
Raju Ahmed works at Chief Economist Unit’s, Bangladesh Bank as Assistant Director since 2016. He looks after the area of fiscal and capital market affairs. His current research interest includes fiscal financing and monetary policy, banks deposit behaviors and interest rates, and financial inclusion. He earned post graduate degree on economics.
Academic Session 2
Regulatory and Policy Frameworks: Challenges and Opportunities for the Mobile Financial Services Sector in Bangladesh
Major General Sheikh Md. Monirul Islam (retd.), Tonoya Imam, Shadman Jamal, and Md. Noor E Alam
Regulatory and Corporate Affairs Department, External and Corporate Affairs Division
bKash Limited, Dhaka
The paper explores how the use of innovative technology and persistent regulatory engagement creates a financial ecosystem that can ensure higher levels of compliance functions of Mobile Financial Services (MFS) as set by international and local regulatory bodies including Anti-Money Laundering & Combatting the Financing of Terrorism (AML&CFT). The evolution of compliance practices, as well as how competition policy for market players and consumer protection has shaped the MFS industry are also examined with special focus on bKash since its inception in 2011. In the process, it highlights the expansion of the scope of MFS providers that has occurred as a result of intimate engagement of the regulator as well as rapid technological innovations and advancements. The analysis further delves into the constraints posed to MFS practitioners by the regulatory provisions and how the regulator together with MFS providers in general and bKash in particular have worked in tandem to overcome those with synchronised application and interfacing of appropriate technology. Finally, it explores the opportunities that may arise from innovative technology within the framework of the regulations both from commercial and compliance perspectives. The conclusions stress on the need for intimate engagement of the regulator and the MFS providers for effective capitalisation of the technological advancements that would further accelerate financial inclusion, and meet the banking needs of the common people. The expanded outreach of payment systems, however, would have to be coupled with strict compliance measures. Consequently, the best practices will lead to higher transparency, as well as increased scope for commercial expansion creating a scenario benefitting the overall economy of Bangladesh.
Major General Sheikh Md Monirul Islam (retd) is the Chief External & Corporate Affairs Officer of bKash Limited since May 2014. He is responsible to oversee the external, corporate and regulatory affairs of bKash Limited. He is also responsible for the implementation of regulatory compliance of the company. He has served in Bangladesh Army for 34 years with the experience of commanding two Infantry Divisions in the rank of Major General. He also served as the Director General of National Security Intelligence (NSI), Special Security Force (SSF) and Government Think Tank – Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS). He was an instructor in Defense Services Command & Staff College and Bangladesh Military Academy. He held the appointment of Chief of Protocol of Bangladesh on deputation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In addition to his current appointment, he is also the Chief Anti-Money Laundering & Compliance Officer (CAMLCO) of bKash Limited.
Tonoya Imam achieved her master’s degree with distinction in Information Systems from Manchester Metropolitan University (UK), and her bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering from North South University. As a Senior Officer in the Regulatory Management team at bKash Limited, Tonoya’s main duty is to ensure the regulatory compliance of technological services and disruptive technologies prior to their implementation. She acts as the bridge between Technology and Business colleagues, and proposes compliant technological solutions where applicable. She has prior experience in teaching Ordinary Level Physics at a private English medium school. During her undergraduate course, she worked part-time as a Public Speaker for Global Alliance for Homeland Security, Bangladesh to represent the voice of the nation’s youth.
Shadman Jamal is currently working for bKash Limited in the Regulatory Management Regulatory and Corporate Affairs Department. His work involves evaluating and analyzing local and international regulatory policies to help ensure compliant business practices. Mr. Jamal obtained a Masters in Public Policy from The University of Warwick in January 2018. He also obtained Graduate Diploma in Law in July 2015 from Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, United Kingdom. His undergraduate education was at The University of British Columbia in the Bachelor of Arts program majoring in Political Science and minoring in Economics (September 2010-2014), Vancouver, Canada.
Mr. Md Noor E Alam is a highly professional and goal driven individual who has a spectacle corporate career spanning over 14 years. He completed his secondary education from Jhenidah Cadet College and then graduated from University of Dhaka. During his period of completion of MBA at BRAC University he started his career at aamra networks limited. From there he moved on to Citycell and later on Qubee rising to through the corporate ladder. He started his journey with bKash from 2014 and is currently working as Deputy General Manager in the Regulatory of Corporate Affairs department. He specializes in strategic planning and high impact sales.
Technological Innovations, Agent Banking and Digital Financial Services for Financial Inclusion in Bangladesh
Md. Arfan Ali
President and Managing Director, Bank Asia Limited, Dhaka
The study examines technological innovations including internet banking, mobile banking, automated teller machines, block chain, BACPS, RTGS and softwares for expanding financial inclusion in Bangladesh. Agent banking is adopted as a means of providing limited scale banking and financial services to the underserved population through engaged agents under a valid agency agreement, rather than a teller/ cashier. Moreover, digital financial services include electronic payments systems (P2P, P2B, B2B, G2P etc.) and electronic banking products and services. Besides, the cost of using cash in Bangladesh is estimated at about Tk. 9,000 crore every year. Technological innovations, agent banking and digital financial services are likely to economise these costs and create new opportunities for inclusion growth in Bangladesh.
Mr. Md. Arfan Ali is the current President & Managing Director of Bank Asia Ltd. A career banker, Mr. Ali, is an MBA from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. He has worked for both local and international banks and possesses more than 25(twenty-five) years of diverse experience in banking profession to his credit. He pioneered and championed Agent Banking operations in Bangladesh with a view to serving a wide range of unbanked and underserved population all over the country. He is also the Secretary General of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh Limited (ABB) and the current Chairperson of the SWIFT Members & Users Group of Bangladesh.
Promoting Digital Finance Innovations through Regulatory Sandbox in Bangladesh: The Next Steps
Galib Ibn Anwarul Azim
Project Officer, United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), Dhaka
Regulatory sandboxes have emerged as useful mechanisms to trial disruptive digital finance innovations minimising risks in a controlled environment. Bangladesh’s transitioning digital finance market is growing rapidly since 2017 after major policy revisions, diversity in service offerings, and adoption of emerging technologies in the ecosystem. Promoting FinTech-led innovations at this stage requires supportive regulatory initiatives; and a sandbox framework can provide enabling space allowing innovators to test their solutions in a controlled environment, help regulators identify risks and resolve regulatory uncertainties for new entrants. This scoping study explores a suitable sandbox model for the Bangladesh context, features and operational considerations to be adopted in the design, coordination strategies among multiple regulators and immediate next steps for designing and launching a sandbox model. The findings suggest a product testing sandbox will be the best fit, allowing thematic/issue based experiments if required. The model should: (i) have support mechanisms similar to an innovation office; (ii) provide cross-sector testing opportunities supported by multiple regulators; and (iii) target high volume driver sectors and last mile customers. Adequate preparation and resource deployment from the design phase, strengthened intra and inter agency coordination mechanism, internal capacity building of staffs and buy-in of senior leadership, effective outreach strategies and flexible intake models will enable successful operation of the sandbox model during early stages.
Galib Ibn Anwarul Azim is a passionate development practitioner currently serving United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) supporting implementation of financial inclusion projects in Bangladesh. Galib had prior roles in Bangladesh Bank, Institute of Public Finance in the Bangladesh Ministry of Finance and private sector consultancy firms. His areas of interest include digital financial inclusion, green and sustainable finance, social protection and digital innovations. Galib obtained bachelor’s and master’s degree in Economics from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He also holds M.A. in Development Studies obtained from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, United Kingdom.
Nexus between Bank-Based Financial Inclusion and Economic Growth in Asia: Do Size of Economy, Governance, Financial Crisis and Regulations Matter?
Prashanta Kumar Banerjee and Md. Zakir Hossain
Professor, Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM), Dhaka and Ph.D. Fellow, Accounting and Finance, University of Western Australia, respectively.
The paper investigates whether a bank-based financial inclusion is significant to promote economic growth in Asian economies. The model uses loans, deposits and the number of banks as a measure of financial inclusion. We document access to financial services, particularly loans and deposits, as the key driver of economic growth. Our result suggests that when a bank branch is established, it takes about four years to have a positive impact on GDP. Empirical evidence shows that the effect of financial inclusion is more noticeable in relatively developed economies. However, a higher level of corruption negatively influences the association between financial inclusion and GDP growth in Asia. In effect, the effectiveness of government policy formulation and implementation is weak in most of these countries which drives away the potential benefits of financial inclusion. Furthermore, our analysis suggests a financial crisis does not have a direct bearing on the underlying structure of Asian economies. Finally, we find Basel regulations do not impede the extent of financial inclusion; rather higher capital ratios positively interact with the extent of financial inclusion to increase GDP.
Dr. Prashanta Kumar Banerjee is Professor and Director (RD&C) at Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM). He served King Faisal University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during 2009-2011. He completed his Ph.D. in Finance from the Punjab University, India and did Post-Doctoral Research in Corporate Finance under Senior Fulbright Scholarship in the United States of America. Currently, he is the Treasurer of the Executive Committee of Fulbright Alumni Association of Bangladesh and member of Southern Economics Association, USA. Dr. Banerjee has published several articles in peer reviewed US, European and Asian journals including Empirical Economics, The Journal of Energy and Development, Southwest Business and Economics Journal, Journal of Developing Areas, etc.
Md Zakir Hossain is a PhD scholar at The University of Western Australia (UWA), Perth Australia. His research interests are corporate finance, disclosures and banking regulation. Before joining to PhD cohort at UWA, he has completed MPhil degree in Economics and Finance from Curtin University. He is the recipient of several awards and scholarships from UGC, University of Rajshahi, Curtin University and UWA. His research has been published in Applied Economics, an ‘A’ ranked journal in ‘ABDC’ journal list.
Academic Session 3
Omni-channel distribution models as source of competitive advantage for banks and financial inclusion
Muhymin Chowdhury and Mahbubur Rahman
Deputy Challenge Fund Manager, Deputy Challenge Fund Manager
Nathan’s market insights show that maximizing returns between a financial institution and its customer is significantly increased through Omni Channel Banking. During the last few years, an increasing number of financial institutions have launched numerous digital and branchless banking initiatives targeting retail and SME customers due to a saturation in the corporate finance segment. The session will discuss how financial institutions can maximize customer value and experience by offering the same suite of products and service across all its delivery channels through stronger targeting using data analytics.
Muhymin has worked in the development sector for over 10 years with a focus on initiatives that improve access to financial services. Currently at Nathan Associates, Muhymin manages a diverse portfolio of micro and small enterprise centered projects focusing on enhancing investment readiness, establishing last mile distribution channels, and developing new products and platforms. Previously he managed a $10m grant investment in bKash Ltd to strengthen the company’s capacity in the area of strategic and operational planning, customer uptake, building the agent network and more.
Mahbubur Rahman has 16 years of experience in Banking, NBFI, Telecommunication industry. He worked in different capacities in Retail and SME Banking segments in Standard Chartered, BRAC Bank Ltd., ICB Islamic Bank Ltd and LankaBangla Finance. He had completed his business graduation from Jahangirnagar University and MBA (major in Finance) from Dhaka University.
Academic Session 4
Effect of Mobile Financial Services on Financial Inclusion in Bangladesh
Nahid Akhter and M. A. Baqui Khalily
Senior Research Associate, Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM), Dhaka and Former Professor of Finance Department, University of Dhaka and former Executive Director of InM, respectively.
Technology and innovations have positive impacts on production and efficiency, and in turn, on growth at the macro level and institutional performance at the firm level. Mobile technology is a relatively new technology in Bangladesh which started since 2011. The findings show that mobile financial services have brought major changes in financial products and institutional structure in the financial services market. Mobile technology is one of the financial innovations, which has multi-dimensional impacts. The result shows that it significantly improves efficiency and financial inclusion. The services have the ability to reach the excluded low-income individuals and micro and small entrepreneurs. This can have wider impact including growth and poverty reduction as well as higher financial inclusion. The findings do suggest that the role of banks and MFIs to expand services in inaccessible areas can be effective, if they are complemented by mobile money and appropriate regulatory framework.
Nahid Akhter is a Senior Research Associate at InM. She holds a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Jahangirnagar University with outstanding results. Her research works include various development issues, like, women empowerment, impact analysis of migration and remittance earning on poverty, financial inclusion, mobile financial services, micro insurance, multidimensional poverty analysis, rural finance, microfinance, inequality and so on. She has strong knowledge and experience in developing survey instruments, conducting statistical analysis, research report and article writing, seminar presentation and so on. She has published papers in internationally accredited journals.
Professor M.A. Baqui Khalily was the founding Executive Director of the Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM). Prior to his joining the Institute, he was Professor of Finance at the University of Dhaka. Currently he teaches at the University of Asia Pacific, and works as a Freelance Consultant. He has worked for World Bank, ADB and other international organisations as a consultant. Educated in Dhaka, he received his Msc degree and PhD in Agricultural Economics with major in Rural Finance and Banking from the Ohio State University, USA. His research areas include financial markets, sustainability analysis, rural finance, microcredit, entrepreneurship development, corporate governance and capital market.
Developing Financial Products for Vulnerable and Excluded Groups of Bangladesh: Policy and Regulatory Issues
Farhana Nargis and Shah Md. Ahsan Habib
Research Fellow, Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM),
Dhaka and Director Training, Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM), Dhaka, respectively
Access to formal finance is a powerful tool for improving the economic conditions of the poor. However, developing appropriate products and ensuring their actual use by the vulnerable groups depend on several conditions under which the formal financial sector operates: constraints and challenges faced by the vulnerable and excluded individuals; excluded groups’ preferences for financial services; and policy and regulatory support for service expansion. This qualitative study brings out the challenges and the policy and regulatory issues to develop appropriate products for the vulnerable and disadvantaged groups like char and haor residents, tribal residents, tea garden workers, transgender, and physically challenged population. It also identifies the present scenario of vulnerable excluded groups in terms of their characteristics, needs, choices and constraints, which are not met by the current financial services in order to understand the main reasons of exclusion from basic financial services provided by the formal institutions of Bangladesh. There is no doubt that adequate policy and regulatory supports are crucial for necessary product development and the vulnerable sections must be supported in different phases for graduation. Especially, policy and regulatory support are crucial to develop much needed micro saving, micro lending and micro insurance products/services. The study suggests that extensive awareness and motivation programmes both along the demand and supply sides could contribute a lot for effectiveness of the inclusive financial products.
Dr. Farhana Nargis is a Research Fellow of InM. Her principal areas of expertise are Production Economics, Agricultural Finance, Poverty, Financial Inclusion and Rural Credit Market. She has been extensively published numerous articles in reputed journals during her young career life. She has an excellent field survey experiences with farmers, rural households and rural microenterprises in developed and developing countries. During her stay at InM, she is working independently as well as with team members of various projects by analyzing data, report and article writing and so on. Dr. Nargis has earned her MS in Production Economics from Bangladesh Agricultural University and Ph.D in Agricultural Economics from Sunchon National University, South Korea.
Dr. Shah Md. Ahsan Habib is a Professor Selection Grade and Director of Training and Certification Programs of Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM). He obtained his Phd from Banaras Hindu University, India under BHU Research Scholarship; and accomplished Post Doctoral Fellowship from Syracuse University, USA under Senior Fulbright Scholarship. He is having teaching experiences with Institute of Business Administration and Department of International Business of the University of Dhaka; East West University; Brac University and University of Professionals. Dr. Ahsan has more than 150 research publications in different national and international journals/books. Dr. Ahsan is the author/lead author of the books ‘Financial Globalization’, ‘Environmentally Responsible Banking in USA’, ‘Towards Knowledge Society’, ‘Green Banking in Bangladesh’, ‘Trade Services by Banks in Bangladesh’. He is a columnist of the national dailies and published over 160 newspaper features in the national daily newspapers. He has been playing editorial roles for the following publications: ‘BIBM’s Policy Brief’; ‘Green Biz of the Green Tech Foundation’; ‘Risk Enlightenments’; ‘Banking Review Series’, ‘Banking Research Series’, and ‘Bank Parikrama’.
Can Vulnerable Working Children be brought under Formal Financial Services? A Gender-Based Investigation
Farah Muneer Senior Research Associate
Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM)
While there are many programmes and campaigns to stop child labour, the fact remains that they still continue to work. This is a common phenomenon especially in under developed and developing world. Therefore, savings initiatives for vulnerable street and working children have been garnering policy attention so that they can be brought under financial services. This paper addresses few key issues regarding the saving behaviour of working street children; i) What are the key characteristics of the children who save; ii) How pattern of expenditures are different from male child and female child, iii) What factors influence the saving performance of children with respect to gender, and finally iv) What are the policy challenges need to be addressed if working children are given financial services. The result shows that gender plays an important role in influencing the working children to save. Female children have 1.8 time higher probability to save than that of male children though they earn less than male children. The analysis shows that female children are more sensible in spending their income. This might contribute to the saving factor. It is also found that the female savers utilise the savings more effectively than male savers. The probability of utilising the savings on consumption increases 5 times for the male children compared to female children.
Farah Muneer is a Senior Research Associate at InM. She holds a Master’s degree in Development Economics and Policy from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. Her research works include various development issues, like, Microenterprise Development, Climate Change Issues and Resilience, Financial Inclusion, Mobile Financial Services, Multidimensional Poverty Analysis and Rural Finance. She has strong knowledge and experience in developing survey instruments and conducting statistical analysis. She has published papers in different national and international journals.
Practical Approach to Defining Efficiency of Agent Banking System and Identifying Data Availability for the Efficiency Indicators for Bangladesh
Sadia Sultana, Saila Sarmin Rapti, and Nabila Fahria
Deputy Director, Monetary Policy Department; Assistant Director, Research Department; and Assistant Director, Monetary Policy Department, respectively, Bangladesh Bank, Dhaka
This paper investigates data availability for measuring the efficiency of agent banking system in Bangladesh. In order to ensure financial services for the country’s large unbanked masses, it is imperative to analyse whether the country’s agent banking system works efficiently or not. In the study, efficiency is defined for the agent banking system using the conventional theory of efficiency and Bangladesh Bank’s guidelines for agent banking. In light of the definition, salient factors needed to measure efficiency of the agent banking system are identified. Existing data sources are then explored and investigated for data on the efficiency indicators. The findings show that data availability to measure efficiency of agent banking system is very limited, mainly because agent banking is relatively new among the financial inclusion tools in Bangladesh and existing capacity for collecting relevant data is limited. The study recommends steps for making the collection of necessary data feasible for the efficiency indicators. Bridging the gap in data would certainly capacitate us to measure the efficiency of agent banking effectively in future.
Sadia Sultana is currently working as a Deputy Director in the Monetary Policy Department of Bangladesh Bank. In the five years of her central banking experience, she has worked intensely with secondary data and is very familiar with data sources in Bangladesh’s context. Working in the central bank, she has experienced the significance of availability and reliability of data in taking efficient policy measures. Before joining Bangladesh Bank, she had worked as a Research Associate at the Economic Research Group (ERG). She is an Economics major with a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree from the University of Dhaka.
Saila Sarmin Rapti
started her career as an Assistant Director in Research Department of Bangladesh Bank in 2016. She received her Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Jahangirnagar University. From the very beginning of her career, she has been actively involved in data analysis of macroeconomic indicators of Bangladesh and SAARC countries. She has gained valuable knowledge by attending in several training programmes on macroeconomic issues in national and international level. Her current areas of research interest are Macroeconomic modeling and forecasting, regional development, financial inclusion, monetary policy analysis etc.
Nabila Fahria is working as an Assistant Director in Monetary Policy Department of Bangladesh Bank since November, 2016. Before joining Bangladesh Bank she worked as a Pricing Specialist in Robi Axiata Limited. She acquired her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in economics from North South University and also had working experience as a Teaching Assistant. During her service period in the central bank, she has extensively worked with various secondary data sources and analyzing all the economic indicators in detail. She has worked on macroeconomic and forecasting model and her current interests are monetary and fiscal policy, financial inclusion, development sector etc.
Academic Session 5
Ensuring Cost-effectiveness, Sustainability, and Financial Inclusion: Grameen Business Model
Golam Morshed Mohammed
Assistant General Manager & Faculty Chief
International Programme Department,
Grameen Bank, Dhaka
Grameen Bank, as the bank for the poor, treats its borrowers as shareholders; they get dividends and borrow for development of their businesses. Most of the directors of the Bank are appointed from the borrowers which is one of the characteristics of the Grameen business model. Financial and social performances are the key elements in the Grameen business model. The model considers profitability of the branches as the key for ensuring viability and profitability of the organisation. Each branch provides financial services to about 600 active borrowers and each branch is required to mobilise enough deposits to meet its demand for lending. The measure ensures high staff productivity and reduces the cost of borrowing from the head office or other sources. The study highlights that the Grameen model is based on business principles, and does not treat microfinance as a charity. It has to be sustainable. The immediate goal of poverty focused Grameen business model is to reach the poorest and the ultimate goal is to operate on a sustainable basis so that it can have positive impact on the lives of the borrowers and their families.
Golam Morshed Mohammed had begun his career as a banker at Nobel Peace Prize winning organization “Grameen Bank”. He has a long thirty years of career experience with this bank as a microcredit practitioner. He had an opportunity to work with Nobel Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus since 2004. Currently he is serving as an AGM and Faculty Chief of International Program Department of GB. Morshed has conducted many international training programs and has delivered speech at various seminar and workshop at home and abroad. Morshed holds a B.A (honors) and M.A degree from the University of Dhaka.
Ensuring Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities through Financial Inclusion: An Experimental Study on Sitakund Upazila
Mohammed Arifur Rahman
Chief Executive, YPSA (Young Power in Social Action), Chattogram and
PhD Fellow, Techno India University, India
The study investigates how the financial inclusion programme of YPSA facilitates inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in mainstream development. The study is based on primary data collected through key informant interviews (KIIs), case studies, observations and questionnaire surveys. A total 250 households with PwDs were purposively sampled for interviewing at the field level. The results identify a total of seven types of disabilities; 67% with physical disability followed by the visually impaired. About 60% of PwDs do not receive any government allowance and 78% have no government certification as PwDs. More than a quarter of the PwDs are the main earning members in their families. Nearly 79% of PwDs prefer to receive loans to start their own businesses and other income generating activities, while only 30% succeeded in receiving loans from different government and non-government organisations. Among them, YPSA (Young Power in Social Action) is the leading organisation at Sitakund in terms of coverage under financial inclusion programme. The programme for PwDs has different modes of operations and privileges which facilitate accessibility to the targeted groups. The participation in the programme benefits and improves their lives and livelihoods along with contributing towards community development. Both government and non-government organisations should come forward to provide different forms of assistance as well as soft loans with flexible terms and conditions for PwDs to ensure their meaningful financial inclusion.
Mr. Arifur Rahman is a dedicated social entrepreneur and activist. He started his activism since his young age and founded YPSA (Young Power in Social Action) in 1985. YPSA presently a leading organization working for sustainable development. Inclusive financing program for and with the person with disabilities is one of his interest area. He actively involved with different initiatives and networking on social development issues. His research articles published in different journals. He completed master’s degree from Chittagong University and Dhaka University. Presently he is pursuing PhD on Inclusive financing program.
Enabling Piggyback Primary Health Care And Education Support Services through Financial Inclusion
Shajahan Bhuiya and Alamgir Khan
Advisor, Centre for Development Innovation and Practices (CDIP) and
Research and Publication Officer, CDIP, respectively.
The study explores how financial inclusion and its expanded coverage can enable an organisation like CDIP to implement piggyback primary health care and education support services for sustainable human development of the organised group members, their families as well as others in the community, particularly the poor, marginalised and disadvantaged women and children. Sustaining programmes on health and education services for them is beset with the problems and challenges of procuring and managing financial, human, and other resources. How the model of piggybacking services works is critically examined in the study along with concurrent examination of the relationships of the credit group members with health and education programmes. The impact of these programmes on potential expansion of financial inclusion in the community is also indicated. The income and expenditure of the programmes for sustainability have also been analysed to test the viability of the model. The study design includes methods like observation, orientation, key informants, focus group discussion, case studies, interviews, study of office documents, review of secondary data sources to collect necessary data and information. The collected data and information are analysed and interpreted to have a preliminary understanding of and an insight into the working of the model that contributes towards mutual reinforcement and symbiosis of financial inclusion and human development programmes for sustainable human development. The results of the study reveal that financial inclusion of the poor, marginalised and disadvantaged people in the community by NGOs enables them to invest their surplus in sustainable human development programmes like health and education to develop people’s wellbeing capability through using the piggyback structure.
Shajahan Bhuiya is the advisor to Centre for Development Innovation and Practices (CDIP), a national NGO with a vision to be a Trend-setter for innovation and change for sustainable human development. His role as an advisor to CDIP management is to provide necessary inputs to management in terms of advice and involvement in the areas of its education, health and financial services necessary for sustainable human development. His recent books are: Piggyback Social Marketing Strategy For Health Program and An Educational Approach For Inclusion And Quality Improvement. The philosophy of his being is for others and him too.
Alamgir Khan, Research and Publication Officer, CDIP, has jointly edited two books: Ganomadhyome Protipholito Shikkhar Chalchitro (Reflections of Education Scenario in the Media, 2006) and Amader Shikkha: Bichitro Bhabna (Our Education: Various Thoughts, 2019). He is Excutive Editor, SHIKKHALOK bulletin and KEYNOTES journal, published by CDIP. Earlier he coordinated the research ‘School Drop-out of Girls and Reproductive & Maternal Health Services’, supported by BNPS and Asia Foundation, 2012; worked as a Research Associate for ‘Non-formal Primary Education Sub-sector Study 20’ under DPE, GoB, 2010; and also worked as a Research Assistant for ‘Performing Arts’ under Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, 2005.
Indirect effect of water supply and sanitation on women entrepreneurs mediated by digital payment : A Case Study from Bangladesh
Anitta Mankhin and Sajid Amit
Monitoring Evaluations and Learning (MEL) Manager, Water.org (Bangladesh) and Country Director, Water.org (Bangladesh), respectively.
Water and sanitation lending by Water.org through digital financial service (DFS) providers enables borrowers to make loan repayments digitally through agent points, without visiting microfinance branches. The study explores the perceptual benefits and deterrents of digital payment at the household level. Moreover, the paper aims to (a) identify the amount of time and money saved from the use of digital payment; (b) explore causal links to improved water supply and sanitation services and development of women entrepreneurs at the presence of digital payment facility using structural equation modelling. The results show that relatively poor women having proper facility of water supply and sanitation (WSS) can utilise their time in productive work. This clearly indicates that development and survival of women entrepreneurs most likely depend on access water and sanitation products. This is also borne out by case studies. The results contribute positively to the discourse of financial inclusion and women empowerment in Bangladesh.
Anitta Mankhin holds Master of Finance and Business Economics from the University of Adelaide in Australia and BBA and MBA from the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh. More than twelve years of demonstrated experience in market research, financial modelling and business development plus demonstrable know-how in economic development have given him a solid understanding and multiple perspectives of business policy impact. Currently, Mr Mankhin is working with Water.org in the capacity of Monitoring Evaluations and Learning (MEL) Manager in Bangladesh. His research interests include but are not limited to econometric research, financial analysis and modelling, and economic development.
Sajid Amit is a researcher, academic, strategy consultant and an expert in international development. With regard to international development, he specializes in program design, fund raising, donor relationship management, stakeholder engagement, and in terms of disciplinary areas, financial inclusion and fintech. He has a BA from Dartmouth College (USA), an MA from SOAS, University of London, and an MA from Columbia University (USA). He has prior work experience in Morgan Stanley, KPMG, and BRAC EPL, in the USA, UK, and India.
Academic Session 6
Brief on the panel discussion:
How can digital platforms meet the financing gaps for MSMEs in Bangladesh?
The panel discussion will highlight the opportunities new digital platforms have brought for innovating financial products to address the gap in MSME financing. The discussion will elaborate:
– How digital platforms can produce bankable data for MSMEs and enable financial service providers utilize the data to develop customized products and services for these segments
– How digital platforms are enhancing customer outreach and profitability through offering efficient business and finance management opportunities for MSMEs