Business Finance for the Poor in Bangladesh (BFP-B) , a £25m financial sector reform programme funded UK Aid and managed by Nathan Associates organised “Action-Framing Conference: Transforming Financial Market for Small Businesses” on Wednesday, 26th February 2020 at the Radisson Blu Water Garden, Dhaka.
Mr. Shahriar Alam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Government of Bangladesh graced the event as the Chief Guest. Mr. Ashadul Islam, Senior Secretary, Financial Institutions Division, Ministry of Finance, was also present.
The Foreign State Minister, Shahriar Alam, State Minister Foreign Affairs, Government of Bangladesh speaks about many aspects. ‘I especially applaud the people and firms who selflessly go out of their way to help those in need; with immense gratitude. ‘He said. He further mentioned the near perfect execution of activities that aid in the betterment of rural business disadvantages. They had started the journey in 2015, and since then, under their management and collaborating partners, Bangladesh has become the 39th economy of the world. Due to the importance of small enterprises which makes the ‘backbone’ of our nation. He has spoken about the encouragement, labour and time that went behind in creating a safe and sustainable business environment for the minorities. While speaking about the selfless contribution in executing proposed strategies. Highlighting Government’s next perspective plan for the next decade. He addressed overcoming the barrier for unmonitored or undocumented credit facilities, suggested research and innovation in this area in order to incentivize the rural contributors, highlighting past and current successes.
Mr. Ahmed Jamal, Deputy Governor, Bangladesh Bank and project leader of BFP-B inaugurated the event with his welcome remarks. He talked about the phenomenal positive changes and the positive impacts they have achieved over the past decade for small enterprises, resulting in 8% of growth in GDP in this year and highlighting 50% of the total lending where towards empowering women through creating feasible entrepreneurship. Their Inclusion Growth Process were mainly focused on female minorities.
The welcome speech was followed by the keynote session “Moving the needle on Financial Inclusion”, presented by Feisal Hussain, Team Leader of BFP-B. He discussed BFP-B’s major achievements over the past years, and the lessons learned while the programme was being implemented. He also articulated BFP-B’s role in assisting policy reforms for regulators and triggering investments for scaling business models to finance micro, small and medium businesses.
The day-long event comprised of four panel discussion sessions where panelists discussed harnessing digital transformation for improving Bangladesh’s financial landscape, adopting omni-channel distribution model in Bangladesh, creating a blended finance architecture for catalysing impact investment and the role of market facilitators to further catalyse policy reforms and private sector investment.
The event concluded by awarding public and private sector innovators for their contribution in driving the SME agenda. Jim McAlpine, Acting Country Representative, DFID Bangladesh and Eamon Cassidy, Managing Director of Nathan Associates, London were present as special guests at the event among other International & GOB high officials.
BFP-B, has worked with the Government of Bangladesh, regulators, commercial financial institutions, and technology companies to disrupt their business environment, and make real the commercial business case to expand finance for small business in Bangladesh – not through compulsion and compliance but through incentives and enablement.