Aspire to Innovate (a2i) and Visa signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop an effective and innovative financial inclusion and digital eco-system in Bangladesh.
The MoU was inked at a virtual signing ceremony on 22 March, read a press release.
Dr Dewan Muhammad Humayun Kabir, project director (joint secretary) of a2i; Sandeep Ghosh, group country manager of India and South Asia, Visa; Ram Rakkappan, head of government and regulatory engagement, India and South Asia, Visa; Tohurul Hasan, programme manager of a2i and high officials from respective organisations attended the program.
Under the MoU both parties will collaborate with each other in the following area: (a) Digital Financial Services Lab: Strengthening the DFS Lab of a2i to foster the innovations of citizen-centered products, technologies and services that will improve lives of low-income Bangladeshis and the efficiency of the financial sector for achieving greater digital financial Inclusion; (b) Women and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME): Design and support women's economic empowerment by encouraging women's leadership in general, and in the MSME and financial sector in particular, including working together to promote that more capital gets to more women-led business owners; (c) Cashless City or District: Sharing knowledge to introduce and pilot a cash light district or constituency in Bangladesh; (d) Thought Leadership: Develop and organize thought leadership round tables or conferences on digital payments, FinTech or start up ecosystem, financial education, MSMEs and payment security, as applicable with participation of local or international stakeholders; (e) Skill Development: Organise joint initiatives that involve universities and education sector on skills-development to help equip labor force for a future digital economy, as part of Skills for Employment Lab and related programs.
The parties will further strengthen cooperation through knowledge partnership including research and knowledge sharing in the areas of common interest. The parties will also work jointly to build innovative payments solutions in different areas like government payments, utility bill and education fees payments etc.
Dr Dewan Muhammad Humayun Kabir, "If the government and non-government organisations work jointly, the value of government services will increase tremendously to bring overall benefit to much number of the people of Bangladesh. Especially, the underprivileged citizens of Bangladesh will be benefited from this MoU."
He said the MoU provides an important platform to work together to strengthen and advance the Digital Bangladesh initiative to transform Bangladesh towards a "Cashless Economy".
"We believe that this initiative will be able to contribute to accelerate an inclusive financial ecosystem in Bangladesh through this unique collaboration between a2i & Visa. We are hopeful that this partnership with Visa will be the beginning of a new era with lots of possibilities to drive collaborative initiatives in the coming days," he added.
Sandeep Ghosh, group country manager of India and South Asia at Visa said, "Bangladesh has been at the forefront of bringing payment innovations to the market and ensuring that a wide array of consumers and merchants become a part of Digital Bangladesh. We are proud to partner closely with a2i in furthering this cause of financial inclusion. With the strength of a network that works for everyone, everywhere, Visa aims to bring the power of its network and its expertise to the market to empower consumers with digital payments and help build a cashless Bangladesh."