UNCDF conference on Tuesday (Nov 20) shared new insights, industry innovations and solutions aimed at impacting and accelerating change in Digital Financial Services Industry. 

“The present government is providing all supports for financial inclusion through digital channels. The government is also developing all sorts of sorts of financial strategies, rules and regulations where technology is the key priority issue. said Mr Abul Kalam Azad, Principle Coordinator of Sustainable Development Goals Prime Minister’s Office the Chief Guest of the conference.

Bangladesh continues to accelerate Digital Financial Services, but there are still problems with accelerating digital financial inclusion across the sectors and women in particular are underrepresented. To address this head- on, collaboration among private sector, government, financial institutions and development partners is needed.

“Digital Technologies offer us a unique opportunity to advance digital financial inclusion for all, but especially for women” said Sonia Bashir Kabir, Managing Director, and Microsoft Bangladesh. “Financial industry is a dynamic industry, and it constantly needs innovation. Innovation leads to better products and better solutions” said Farzana Chowdhury, Managing Director and CEO, Green Delta Insurance Limited.

“It is very exciting to see UNCDF conference tackling the issues of Digital Financial Services, as these services are critical for agro-based micro and small enterprises that need access to credit. Digital Finance can ease access and improve use” said the speakers.

The conference highlighted a need to digitize remittances for real economic growth and also showcased the enormous opportunity small retailers present in Bangladesh.  The conference highlighted that small retailers are an economic force with almost US$ 18 billion in annual turnover in 2018 alone. “These small retailers offer a real opportunity for financial sector to expand the financial services to the last mile” said the panelist and speakers.

Some of the key recommendations were made from the conference. These are: Develop comprehensive national strategy for digital financial services, Invest in Innovation, solutions and partnership that address the roots of DFS barriers.

The conference was attended by more than 350 delegates. It brought together policy makers, regulators, local private sector stakeholders and international experts who shared unique insights about innovations and solutions needed to promote and accelerate digital financial inclusion in Bangladesh.

The conference also housed an Innovation Fair showcasing the current digital finance innovation landscape in the country. The innovation fair showcased FinTech innovation, products and services. A total of 24 organizations showcased their products, innovations and services through demonstration booths in the conference venue.

The conference took place in association with Access to Information Programme (a2i), BRAC and Business Finance for the Poor in Bangladesh (BFP-B). The conference was financially supported by the European Union and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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