Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)-Bangladesh has won another award for boosting the ongoing financial inclusion campaign across the country to achieve sustainable development.
The country obtained on Thursday Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) Country Award 2015 from Asia and the Pacific region, leaving India and Fiji behind for massive financial inclusion activities, particularly in the area of school banking
Last year, Singapore was awarded the same from this region.
“This is another milestone achievement for Bangladesh branding her as a role model for financial inclusion,” Bangladesh Bank (BB) Governor Dr. Atiur Rahman said in his initial reaction.
“I see this award as a reaffirmation of our new approach of developmental central banking, significantly contributing towards ensuring a broad based, inclusive, and poverty free society led by our honorable Prime Minister,” the central bank chief explained.
The award was officially handed over by Valerie Georgina Howarth, Baroness Howarth of Breckland, OBE, a renowned British politician and member of the House of Lords, at the 4th Annual CYFI Awards Ceremony, held at the House of Lords in London on 10 December 2015.
Executive Director of BB Md. Abdur Rahim received the award on behalf of the central bank of Bangladesh.
CYFI is a Europe based global network of 36 million children and youth across 125 countries that works for enhancing the financial capabilities of children and youth.
While conferring the award, Lady Howarth highly appreciated Bangladesh’s success towards embracing nearly one million school students into the formal financial system with significant deposit size, a BB press statement said in Dhaka on Friday.
She said that despite being a developing country, Bangladesh is a pioneer in financial inclusion; the innovative multi-stakeholder approach of Bangladesh Bank has made the school banking program a huge success.
Under the broader head of Financial Inclusion, the BB has been promoting rapid expansion of financial services, particularly for the excluded and underserved, to implement the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s vision of ensuring broad based inclusive economic growth in Bangladesh.
The government has also been fully supportive of financial inclusion strategy of the central bank.
Launched in 2010 with a circular from the BB, school banking has emerged as one of the core components of the financial inclusion programs. Students can now open bank accounts with initial deposits of only BDT 100 (US$ 1.25) with no charges/fees applicable on such accounts.
More than 900 thousand such accounts have been opened so far with total deposits of around US$ 90 million.
Even working Street Children have also been brought into the net of formal financial system in 2014.
Besides, parents can now pay the school fees for their children throw mobile financial services.

Earlier, Bangladesh Bank’s innovative inclusive financing programmes have earned national and global accolades, like by the Banker (a subsidiary of the Financial Times) and Emerging Markets (a subsidiary of the Euromoney), awarding Dr. Rahman as the ‘Best Central Bank Governor of the Year in Asia’.

Ever since assuming office as central bank governor in 2009, Dr Rahman has been spearheading initiatives of ingraining in the Bangladesh financial sector socially and environmentally responsible financing ethos, with multi-pronged facilitation and policy support for inclusive, green financing.

All this is being done within safe limits of monetary expansion supporting the output growth and macroeconomic stability goals aspired in the government’s inclusive sustainable development strategy.

The approach has contributed notably in upholding domestic demand-led growth and stability amid prolonged post-global financial crisis slowdown in global output growth; with faster poverty decline sustained by employment and income in SMEs, stable downward edging inflation, and strengthening external sector viability.

In November last year, Dr Rahman received the “GUSI Peace Prize International 2014” award for his contribution to establishing peace by reducing poverty in Bangladesh.

The BB governor also received the prestigious “Indira Gandhi Gold Plaque for 2011” for his contribution to international cooperation towards human progress.

Dr Rahman was appointed 10th governor of Bangladesh Bank on May 1, 2009 for a four-year term, which was extended for another term for three years and three months upto 2nd August, 2016 by which time he will be 65.

BBN/SSR/AD