24 Oct 2021, 21:44

'FinLab Bangladesh' launched to help country's poor

 DHAKA, Oct 24 2021 (BSS) - Financial Innovation Lab Bangladesh (FinLab BD) has been launched to serve the country's low and moderate-income populations by advancing sustainable pro-poor growth.

  State Minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak inaugurated the FinLab BD introduced by a2i, UNCDF and MSC today as the chief guest, said a press release here.

  Deputy Governor of the Bangladesh Bank Ahmed Jamal, Policy Adviser of a2i Anir Chowdhury and Regional Coordinator Asia of UNCDF Maria Perdomo attended the event as special guests with Project Director (Joint Secretary) of a2i Dr Dewan Muhammad Humayun Kabir in the chair.

  Speaking at the event, Zunaid Ahmed Palak said, "Promoting digital financial inclusion is the core pillar of building a digital Bangladesh. The government is working to create a common platform interoperable digital transition platform for digital financial transactions".

  This increases penetration of the online population alongside bringing integrity in public service delivery, he said, adding, "We are now providing social safety net allowance to beneficiaries through mobile financial services. For this purpose, millions of MFS accounts were also created for these beneficiaries, bringing them one step closer to financial inclusion".

  The youth, the entrepreneurs and startups in Bangladesh have the potential to resolve problems and create a positive social impact, Palak said, adding all they need support, guidance, funding and mentoring in the correct direction.

  Therefore, FinLab Bangladesh will enhance financial inclusion through technology and a digital-first approach to help us reach our goals even faster while the collaboration will be crucial for the success of the lab, he added.

  "As startups, industry experts, financial service providers, regulators, investors, and donors come together, we can collectively contribute to our realizing the vision of the financially included digital Bangladesh," the state minister said.

  Addressing the inaugural function, Ahmed Jamal said, "FinLab will foster the innovation and capacity of FinTech in the Bangladesh market. Technology has tasked all aspects of our everyday life with the use of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)".

  Bangladesh Bank has built a safe, secure and efficient payment ecosystem of the country to align the payment system with the goal of digital Bangladesh and also to monitor and supervise from the central point, he said, adding Bangladesh Bank will provide full support to FinLab.

  Anir Chowdhury said the a2i has been working diligently to build digital Bangladesh focusing to build a customer-centric public service ecosystem to simplify the life of end-users - the resident of Bangladesh by making services more inclusive, affordable and reliable.

   One of the core components is to catalyze digital financial services and FinTech innovation, he said, adding, "We are jointly working with Bangladesh Bank, different ministries and departments, development and technology partners, financial service providers, international organizations and donors to involve the marginalized people in the formal economy for the last three years".

  Maria Perdomo said UNCDF intends to accelerate the growth and competitiveness of FinTech and other tech-based DFS initiatives in different sectors and segments to achieve an inclusive digital economy.

  "We are very excited to have a2i and MSC working with us in realizing this. The role of innovation in financial service and technology is crucial to accelerate the growth of digital financial service, to bridge the gap and ensure that no one is left behind," Maria added.

   MSC Partner Anil Kumar Gupta also spoke at the inaugural function, among others.

  Later, a panel discussion on "How FinTech startups and incumbents can play a role in improving the financial health of the LMI segment of Bangladesh" was held.

  Experts discussed on how FinTech startups and incumbents can play a role in improving the financial health of the low and moderate-income populations of Bangladesh.

  Director-Asia of MetLife Foundation Krishna Thacker, Country Manager-Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan-of VISA Soumya Basu, Co-founder and COO of Sheba Platform Limited Ilmul H Sajib and CEO of UPAY Sydul Haque Khandaker took part at the discussion as the panelists.

   Managing Director of MSC Manoj K Sharma moderates the panel discussion. Program Manager-Digital Access and Digital Financial Service of a2i Md Tohurul Hasan conducted the panel discussion.


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