The 5-day Joint Learning Program on digital financial services kicked off in Dhaka, Bangladesh yesterday with more than 30 participants from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean

DFS is the key catalyst to advancing financial inclusion

“Digitization will be the core pillar of our upcoming National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS),” said the Deputy Governor of Bangladesh Bank, S.K. Sur Chowdhury, during the opening of the Joint Learning Programme (JLP) on digital financial services (DFS) taking place in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 4 – 8 December 2017.

Organized in collaboration by the Bangladesh Bank and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) the 5-day JLP brings together more than 30 participants from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean — representing 22 countries and 24 institutions for a productive week of interactive learning and knowledge exchange on digital financial services with a focus on financial inclusion.

DFS in advancing the country’s economic growth

“It has been proven beyond doubt globally that DFS is a key catalyst to achieve the objectives of financial inclusion, and in turn contribute greatly to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” stated AFI Deputy Executive Director, Norbert Mumba.

“It is incumbent for us to ensure that the rapid growth of DFS does not leave anyone behind and is benefitting all, including closing the gender gap in financial inclusion, and by providing access to particularly vulnerable groups including youth, those with disabilities, and migrants.”

The rapid changes that the DFS sector is witnessing — entry and involvement of multiple players and the role of demographics or the market — makes it very challenging for financial regulators to keep themselves updated and stay ahead of the curve.

“DFS bring unforeseen opportunity to strengthen both financial stability and financial integrity, and therefore, bring more unbanked into the formal financial services, expanding financial inclusion,” further highlighted the Executive Director of Bangladesh Bank, Mr. Md. Abdur Rahim.

New digital technologies are a game changer for financial inclusion, opening up access to financial services for all sectors of society, and in the process, helping dispel myths about financial inclusion.

“Financial inclusion matters to economic growth,” Mr. S.K. Sur Chowdhury emphasized. Having access to financial services means that people can make payments, get credit, save and invest.

About AFI’s capacity building services

AFI’s approach to capacity building has been to nurture members through peer learning and Joint Learning Programmes (JLP). A JLP is led by a country that has made significant progress in financial inclusion, especially on a particular theme such as DFS, but it also provides the opportunity for other member institutions to share their models and achievements. Due to the diverse experiences of participants, a JLP provides the opportunity for members to gain in-depth knowledge on DFS and adapt lessons learned in their own country.