24 January 2018
As part of high-level engagement with member institutions in the Asia region, AFI’s Executive Director, Dr. Alfred Hannig met with Governor Fazle Kabir, Deputy Governor Sur Chowdhury, Deputy Governor Razee Hassan, Deputy Governor Moniruzzaman, Chief Economist Faisal Ahmed and other members of the management team of Bangladesh Bank (BB), during a high-level meeting hosted by the Central Bank in Dhaka, on 23 January 2018.
The contribution of Bangladesh Bank to the AFI network and continuous strengthening of solid collaboration between the two institutions were praised and acknowledged during the meeting. The visit follows a successful Joint Learning Program on Digital Financial Services hosted by BB in December 2017 whose participants include 24 AFI member institutions from 22 countries.
During the meeting, the Bangladesh Bank leadership commended AFI for its uniqueness and demand-driven approach in serving members’ needs, as well as the rapid process of transitioning towards becoming an independent, leading network of regulators driving financial inclusion in developing countries.
Amongst other key issues discussed, the need for the AFI members from South Asia to strengthen regional collaboration, and the key milestones for unlocking access to quality and affordable financial services for the millions unbanked in the sub-continent.
Bangladesh Bank has been a pioneer in showcasing the importance of financial inclusion within the South Asian region and beyond. Since the inception of Maya Declaration in 2011, BB has achieved 16 out of 55 of its financial inclusion targets including formulating comprehensive consumer protection guidelines in 2015.
“Financial inclusion goes with our system,” Governor Kabir said, “this is our future and we have to take everyone with us in this hugely densely populated country.”
An active AFI member since 2009, Bangladesh Bank is currently co-chair of the AFI Board of Directors, as well as one of the members of the Global Standards and Proportionality Committee. Bangladesh Bank became member of the AFI Board of Directors in 2016, as soon as the network became independent.
Bangladesh Bank is continuing its financial inclusion initiative within the AFI network: a front runner in green financial inclusion, BB is keen on the creation of a new working stream on Green Financial Inclusion within AFI. This will enhance knowledge exchange on the linkages between financial inclusion and climate change leading to the implementation of the Sharm el Sheikh Accord.
BB expressed support to AFI in integrating new streams of work, such as FinTech for financial inclusion and inclusive insurance.
The Bangladesh Bank welcomed initiatives earmarked to drive AFI into a policy leadership alliance, which reinforces members’ collective practical knowledge on financial inclusion policies and accelerate financial inclusion through content and regulatory guidance. Bangladesh Bank and the Ministry of Finance are now emphasizing the importance of national coordination in the implementation of financial inclusion initiatives. The two institutions are working together on drafting the National Financial Inclusion Strategy Study Paper for the Government of Bangladesh that will serve as the core framework for the preparation of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS). AFI is assisting the process through peer reviews and implementation support.