Microfinance and Development

The National Conference on “Microfinance and Development” by InM held on August 24-25, 2013 at PKSF Auditorium, Dhaka aimed at contributing to national policy discussion through disseminating InM’s research findings.

The two-day conference was inaugurated by renowned socio-economic specialist, development thinker and the Chairman of InM, Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad. The Chairman depicted that the conference endeavored to present some of InM’s research findings and emerging ideas relating to its work programme for critical review by experts and policymakers with a view to taking criticisms, ideas, and suggestions. He underscored that InM has been playing an important role in informing the formulation and implementation processes of microfinance, poverty reduction, and development interventions.

The conference has brought together more than 350 participants from national and international organisations, dignitaries, academicians, researchers, policymakers, development specialists, practitioners, sector stakeholders, etc.

At the inaugural session, Professor M. A. Baqui Khalily, Executive Director, InM welcomed the participants to the event and addressed objectives of the conference. Former Finance and Planning Minister of Bangladesh Mr. M. Syeduzzaman was present as the Special Guest of the inauguration.

The two-day conference was consisted of 6 technical sessions and 1 panel session. The sessions of the conference focused on the following themes:

Conference Sessions

1.  Financial Inclusion in Bangladesh
2.  Access to Finance and Micro Enterprise Development
3.  Microfinance and Poverty
4.  Risk, Vulnerability and Micro Insurance
5.  Overlapping and Dropout Behavior of Microfinance Households in Bangladesh
6.  Microfinance and Food Security
7.  Climate Change, Vulnerability and Microfinance as the panel session

At the first day of the conference, 4 technical sessions were held emphasising relevant policy issues such as financial inclusion, access to finance, micro enterprise development, poverty, vulnerability, micro insurance, etc. The second day consisted of 2 technical sessions and 1 panel session focused on the discussion of significant policy issues regarding microfinance and food security, overlapping and drop-out behavior, and contemporary issues confronting the policymakers and critics. At each session, InM research scholars and visiting fellows presented keynote papers highlighting the abovementioned themes, and senior sector specialists and eminent experts were present as panelists.

The second day of the conference focused on the discussion of significant policy issues regarding microfinance and food security, overlapping and drop-out behaviour, and contemporary issues confronting the policymakers and critics.

Dr. Atiur Rahman, Governor, Bangladesh Bank, was present as the Chief Guest in the first session of the second day of the conference. He thanked InM for organising such timely and commendable conference for reshaping the development sector.

The technical sessions were followed by a panel discussion on “Climate Change, Vulnerability and Microfinance” presided over by Professor Hironori Hamanaka, Chair, Board of Directors, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Japan. The session steered debates on the strategies to cope with adverse impact of climate change, and also aimed at strengthening the joint research of InM and IGES.

The Closing Ceremony was graced by the honourable Finance Minister of Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Mr. Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, as the Chief Guest. Honourable minister appreciated the effort of disseminating the research findings that could possibly contribute to the policy formulation of the government.

Ms. Pauline Tamesis, Country Director, UNDP Bangladesh, and Dr. Takao Toda, Chief Representative, JICA Bangladesh, were the special guests of the closing session.

This national conference is expected to be a major milestone with the discourse of Microfinance and Development and a way forward for a comprehensive policy discussion.