Published:  12:59 AM, 12 November 2017

Role of regulators is of critical importance for digital financial inclusion

Role of regulators is of critical importance for digital financial inclusion

"Success of digital financial inclusion depends on the prudent role of the regulating bodies to a great extent. And the recent progress in Bangladesh in this regard is a good example for the rest of the world to follow."- said Dr. Atiur Rahman, former governor of Bangladesh Bank.

He said these while chairing a session at the '5th Biennial Competition, Regulation and Development Conference' at Jaipur, India. The three day conference is being hosted by CUTS International and OECD. Speakers of the session included Ravinder S. Aurora, Senior Vice President of Mastercard; David Ong'olo, Kenyan Competition Authority; and Dr. A. K. EnamulHaque, Professor of East West University, Dhaka.

Many developing countries survived and even thrived during the last global financial crisis because they chose to follow broad based financial inclusion strategy. And digital solutions played a crucial role in this financial inclusion drive, said Dr. Rahman. He added that service providers must focus on reaching the customers placed in rural socio-economic conditions.

To do so, we have to learn from the success stories, identify the challenges, map out possible partnerships and above all develop regulatory frameworks that promote innovation and at the same time protect the long term interest of the industry.

Dr. Rahman said that experience from Bangladesh can answer many of the burning questions regarding digital financial inclusion. The central bank of the country has facilitated 'bank-led digitization drive'. Be it Mobile Financial Service or be it Agent Banking, the Bangladesh Bank has encouraged traditional players (i.e. the commercial banks) to lead the way. And it has been proven to be very successful.

He also said that the world is witnessing only the beginning of the digital finance revolution. Hence, we must learn from all these experiments, share our experiences and know-hows. Only then, we can work towards shaping global standards and practices.Dr. Rahman finally asked all central banks to be more proactive and collaborative with other stakeholders including non-traditional financial service providers to facilitate orderly development of digital financial inclusion so that consumers' interests are better protected.

The grievance redressal mechanism developed in Bangladesh Bank with infusion of state of the art technology to gain trust of the customers on financial Inclusion was also discussed widely in the session.The panelists hugely appreciated Bangladesh's regulatory move with public interest in mind using latest technology for replicable digital financial inclusion.

The writer is an economist, writer and former Governor of Bangladesh Bank

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