Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Financial Inclusion involving various ways to access and use different financial products and services can be effective with an enabling policy environment and technology driven innovations, Dr. Atiur Rahman, former Bangladesh Bank (BB) governor said.
Professor Rahman said this while giving a special talk on ” Bangladesh: Silicon Valley of Financial Inclusion” at the Institute of South Asian Studies of National University of Singapore on November 14.
Chaired by former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Subbarao, a Fellow of the Institute, the speaker was welcomed by its Director Professor Subrato Kumar Mitra, according to a message.
While welcoming Dr. Rahman Dr. Mitra recalled his fond memory of 1971 when he was a student of JNU, Delhi and complimented Bangladesh for providing a fairy tale of exceptional developmental transition from the so-called ‘basket case’ to today’s ‘land of plenty’.
Professor Rahman provided a practitioner’s narrative of this breakthrough in the financial sector at amid a ‘ new mediocre’ world experiencing not even half of Bangladesh’s long spell of stable growth trajectory.
“Yet Bangladesh needed financial inclusion for navigating domestic multiple transitions and unprecedented global shocks. And Bangladesh lived up to this expectation where the central bank played a developmental role by instituting a supportive regulatory frame work for including the poor and small plus medium entrepreneurs who benefitted immensely from the newly introduced technologies and business models.”
Bangladesh also has become a role model for strategically leveraged and managed digitization for increasing efficiency, meeting market gaps and needed price discovery with necessary support from the central bank, according to the former governor.
He also said the outcomes of these policy synergies have been stunning including balanced financial stability and faster reduction of poverty.
“The key thrusts of Bangladesh’s financial economy have been focused on improving the state of the real economy including inflow of resources and loans to agriculture, MSMEs, women entrepreneurs, green businesses, tech-savvy young entrepreneurs, the marginalized and the excluded,” Dr. Rahman noted.
The chair of the talk Dr. Subbarao appreciated Dr. Rahman’s ‘walking the talk’ and his deeper sensitivity to the unserved as a governor. “He always went beyond numbers and pioneered many financial inclusion strategies during his tenure”, said Dr. Subbarao.
Dr. Rahman also discussed about the challenges of doing businesses in Bangladesh and suggested to continued focus on digitization to ensure transparency and efficiency.
He emphasized on further social innovations to face the growing challenges of trade barriers which are reemerging globally. Finally, he invited think-tanks in Asia to bring together the regulators, both former and current, and innovative practitioners of Asia to know from each other’s success stories and challenges as a way forward.