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Staff Correspondent
All the people of the country need to be brought under the Digital Financial Services (DFS) system to ensure their financial activities smoothly and safely, experts on Tuesday said.
They shared new insights, industry innovations and solutions aimed at impacting and accelerating change in DFS Industry.
Many people living in the remote areas are still facing difficulties in getting DFS, they added.
Financial transactions in the rural areas will enhance to a great extent if DFS can be made available for all in those areas. So, special attention should be paid to the remote areas to make Bangladesh a really digitalised country, speakers urged.
Abul Kalam Azad, principal coordinator, SDG affairs under Prime Minister’s Office, said, “The present government is providing all supports for financial inclusion through digital channels. It is also developing all sorts of financial strategies, rules and regulations where technology is the key priority issue.”
He made this comment as the chief guest while speaking at the conference titled “Bangladesh Digital Financial Inclusion Conference 2018” organized by UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) on Tuesday at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the capital.
“We are still studying on different types of financial systems, like ‘Bitcoin,’ considering customers’ financial safety factor before implementation,” said Azad.
Sonia Bashir Kabir, managing director, Microsoft Bangladesh, said in another session titled “Closing the Gender Gap in DFS: Innovations and Solutions” that digital technologies offer us a unique opportunity to advance digital financial inclusion for all, especially women.
Farzana Chowdhury, managing director and CEO of Green Delta Insurance Limited, said on the occasion, “Financial industry is a dynamic industry, and it constantly needs innovation. Innovation leads to better products and better solutions.”
On another session titled “Digital Finance for Agro-based Micro and Small Enterprises,” speakers said DFS are critical for agro-based micro and small enterprises as they need access to credit.
They underscored the necessity of simplifying the entire system so that people with little or no education can have easy access to it, which will ultimately increase the use of DFS.
Another session titled “Remittance for Real Economic Growth: Formalization and Digital Use Cases” highlighted the need to digitize remittances for real economic growth as it can offer enormous opportunity to the small retailers doing business in Bangladesh.
The panelists and speakers said that small retailers have recently turned out to be an important economic force with about $18 billion annual turnover in 2018 alone.
They added these small retailers offer a real opportunity for financial sector to expand the financial services to the last mile.
The conference also made some key recommendations: Develop comprehensive national strategy for digital financial services, invest in innovation, solutions and partnership, which address the root barriers of DFS.
Attended by more than 350 delegates, the conference brought together policymakers, 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 government’s 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 and Melinda Gates Foundation.