On 26 October 2017, Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM) organised a round table discussion on ‘Interoperability of Digital Finance in Bangladesh: Challenges and Taking-off Options’, supported by UNCDF-SHIFT (Shaping Inclusive Finance Transformations) at Lakeshore Hotel in Dhaka. The State Minister for Finance and Planning, Mr. M. A. Mannan MP was present as the Chief Guest while Mr. Arijit Chowdhury, Additional Secretary, Financial Institutions Division, Ministry of Finance, and Mr. Subhankar Saha, Executive Director of Bangladesh Bank, were present as special guests. Dr. Lila Rashid, General Manager of Payment Systems Department, Bangladesh Bank was the designated discussant. Dr. Mustafa K Mujeri, Executive Director of InM, presented the Keynote Paper on the occasion. The discussion session was chaired by Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of InM.
Honorable State Minister, Mr. M. A. Mannan MP observed that interoperability of digital financial services (DFS) would increase client benefits, facilitate competition based on product innovation and diversification, and boost the growth of digital finance ecosystem in Bangladesh. It would accelerate digital financial inclusion and complement Bangladesh government’s actions for digital transformation of the key sectors of the economy to achieve the goals of ‘Vision 2021’. He emphasised that It was time for Bangladesh to develop the digital finance ecosystem such that interoperability could be ensured through designing a comprehensive framework.
The speakers in the dialogue emphasised that Bangladesh had successfully promoted new innovations for promoting financial services to the low income groups, especially rural poor, women and small businesses. Rapid growth in adoption and active usage of digital financial services in Bangladesh started especially since 2012. Mobile financial inclusion has shown the promise of emerging as the most viable way of accessing financial services for the previously unbanked population. The regulators and private sectors need to respond to emerging issues related to DFS like interoperability, USSD pricing, e-KYC (electronic Know Your Customer), required regulatory reforms, innovation in product development targeting the low income groups etc.
Interoperability brings benefits to consumers, mobile money providers, and agents through increased convenience, cost savings, a greater choice of providers and better liquidity management for agents. Further, interoperability is also relevant to several issues of competition e.g. reduction in network effects that restrict consumers’ freedom to switch based on quality of service and price; improved user experience and ease of account usage in across-provider transfers; reduction in agent exclusivity as agents can function for multiple mobile financial services (MFS) providers; increasing diversity of MFS options for consumers; and access to MFS channels from third-parties such that MFS originating in one MFS network can land on another MFS network.
The roundtable discussions further observed that DFS ecosystem needed a comprehensive design, stakeholders’ buy-in and action plan for developing the infrastructure, regulatory frameworks and taking the agenda forward. The digital finance interoperability would enable different payment infrastructures and financial service providers to effect payments between customers. Through the mechanism, interoperability would expand the reach of transaction accounts and retail payment instruments, making them more useful for end-users.
Bangladesh Bank has successfully introduced national payment switch, a robust payment infrastructure and actively promoting interoperability among banks and financial institutions. Drawing from those experiences, now the key regulator of financial sector expects to introduce digital finance interoperability by June 2018. Concerned departments of Bangladesh Bank are working to initiate a consultative process with service providers and outline the action plan for implementation. Bangladesh Bank is confident to achieve intended objectives within the targeted timeline, observe Mr. Saha and Dr. Rashid from the Bangladesh Bank.
A move is under way to organise a platform styled Financial Inclusion Network-Bangladesh (FIN-B) for developing, sharing and disseminating knowledge and expertise in financial inclusion.
Its main objective will be leveraging expertise in advancing financial inclusion as a key instrument for poverty reduction, inclusive growth and development, officials said.
It is expected to be developed as a unique platform to bring together all the financial sector stakeholders, including banks, microfinance institutions (MFIs), non-government organisations (NGOs), financial institutions and, local government and grassroots organisations for sharing ideas and best practices from home and abroad.
The proposed FIN-B is set to be guided and supervised by a steering committee (SC) which will consist of 12 members. Chairman, the Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM), will be the chairman of the SC. Besides, representatives from different state agencies and Dhaka University will be included into the SC.
Besides, the network will promote both institutional and financial collaboration amongst its members and organisations working in the development sectors like finance and development and in areas of research, training, education, knowledge management and public policy.
InM has taken the initiative to stimulate exchanges, develop collaboration and promote the network to its members, a senior official of InM said.
Bangladesh is a pioneer in financial inclusion supported by active leadership of central bank, ongoing reforms in banking and financial sector, rich heritage in microfinance and recent strides for building “Digital Bangladesh” and rapid gains in expanding mobile financial services, according an InM document.
Tuesday, 12 September 2017
National Conference on Financial Inclusion of Vulnerable Segment in Bangladesh
Policy advocacy through disseminating research findings
The Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM) organised a National Conference on ‘Financial Inclusion of Vulnerable Segment in Bangladesh’ on 20 September 2017 at 10 am at the PKSF Auditorium in Dhaka with support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The Seminar was aimed to support national policy discussion on financial inclusion through disseminating research findings undertaken by InM.
The conference was inaugurated by the Chief Guest, Dr. Mashiur Rahman, Economic Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director, PKSF and Professor Tsuji Kazuto, Visiting Senior Adviser were present as the Special Guests.
Dr. Mustafa K Mujeri, Executive Director, InM chaired the session and welcomed the participants to the event and explained the main issues for discussion in the conference.
During the Inaugural Session, Hon’ble Chief Guest Dr. Mashiur Rahman underscored the need for developing a range of appropriate instruments for enhancing crisis-coping capacities of different poor groups in the coastal region as well as in other locations such that they could face different episodes of recurrent natural calamities successfully. He applauded the efforts of InM to address the vulnerabilities in the lives of these disadvantaged population groups residing in hard-to-reach locations of the country. He lauded the role of InM, a prominent research, training and knowledge management institution, for its pioneering work in the field of finance, poverty and development and for actively promoting financial empowerment and inclusion agenda in the country.
The seminar was divided into three sessions covering three key areas: Designing Appropriate Financial Products for Climate Vulnerable People; Financial Empowerment for Vulnerable Working Street Children/youth; and Developing and Implementing Inclusive Insurance in Bangladesh.
- Designing Appropriate Financial Products for Climate Vulnerable People
The study addresses issues of financial inclusion for disaster and climate resilient households and communities in Bangladesh. It examines the line-up, situations, impacts, and issues of existing financial services for disaster and climate resilient households and communities and suggests what improvements are needed in services and delivery of services, institutional mechanisms and regulatory frameworks at community and other levels. It also comes up with the operational design of an action research that can be tested in the country’s coastal region.
Mr. Mehadi Hasan, Senior Research Associate, InM; Professor M. A. Baqui Khalily, Former Professor, Department of Finance, University of Dhaka; and Dr. Mizanur Rahman, Professor of Accounting and Public Policy presented the paper on behalf of InM. Dr. Md. Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF was present as a discussant. Dr. Mustafa K Mujeri, Executive Director, InM chaired the session.
- Financial Empowerment for Vulnerable Working Street Children and Youth
The study covers financial empowerment for vulnerable street and working children and youth. The study examines major aspects relating to financial empowerment and inclusion of vulnerable street children and youth in the country. Further, the study examines the current status in terms of situations, impacts, and issues of existing financial services for working street children and suggests financial packages that could meet the demands and needs of different groups of street children and youth.
Dr. Farhana Nargis and Ms. Farah Muneer, Senior Research Associates, InM presented the paper and Mr. Golam Mahiuddin, Joint Director, Financial Inclusion Department, Bangladesh Bank provided useful insights as a discussant.
- Implementing Inclusive Insurance in Bangladesh
The research was on developing and implementing inclusive insurance in Bangladesh. The core objective has been to identify and estimate important parameters for developing inclusive microinsurance products, and design their implementation modalities. The research specifically focuses on two microinsurance products: micro health insurance and property micro-insurance. The study identifies the parameters and addresses related issues for constructing mortality/morbidity tables and actuarial database for micro health insurance. It also reviews existing practice of reinsurance arrangements, and suggests approaches to reinsurance of microinsurance risks.
Ms. Nahid Akhter, Senior Research Associate, InM; Dr. Syed Abdul Hamid, Professor and Director, Institute of Health Economics, University of Dhaka; and Dr. Shubhasish Barua, Assistant Professor, Department of Development Studies, University of Dhaka presented the research on behalf of InM. Mr. Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF, while discussing the paper, provided some useful observations. The session was chaired by Mr. Gokul C Das, Member, Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA), Bangladesh.
The seminar was widely attended by policy makers, regulators, and representatives from banks and MFIs, academicians and other practitioners of financial inclusion.
Engage, Lead, Learn and Transform your Career with InM Diploma in Microfinance!
Develop your capacity to adopt a more strategic approach, execution capability and the right set of specialised skills for the emerging development-inspired microfinance sector engaged in adopting innovations through technology and improved business operating models !!
Be a part, identify your opportunities in the evolving microfinance sector transforming itself from mission-driven ethos to one responding to the needs and interests of the poor in Bangladesh !!!
- Excellent Faculty with wide knowledge and experience in Microfinance
- Tailored course materials designed for the diploma programme by specialists in both bangla and english
- Printed course materials distributed to participants free of charge at the beginning of the programme
- Introduction of each course by well-known experts and practitioners at the beginning
- Invited guest lectures by microfinance experts for better understanding of practical issues
- One-month long internships at the end for acquiring on-hand expertise and field visits
- Bachelors degree in any discipline
- Preference given to applicants working in MFIs, Development Organisations, Banks, and Financial Institutions
- Women are especially encouraged to apply
Last Date of Application: 21 September 2017
Admission Starts: October 2017
Course Fee: BDT 48000.00 only (including cost of reading materials)
These policy briefs identifies key opportunities, challenges and way forward for microfinance institutions (MFIs) to expand micro-enterprise (ME) lending and deposit services in Bangladesh. The analysis is based on secondary data collected from Bangladesh Bank (BB), Microcredit Regulatory Authority (MRA) and MFIs; and primary data collected from 600 MEs and information through discussions with BB, MRA, banks and MFIs.
Several issues guide the analysis of the study. First, why development of MEs is so important in Bangladesh? Second, what constraints do MEs face in their development? Third, to what extent is finance a critical factor? Fourth, what is the existing demand-supply gap of ME credit? Fifth, what policies/strategies should be taken to promote and develop MEs through MFIs?