Mastercard, Bank Asia and a2i team for financial inclusion in Bangladesh
Access to Information (a2i, an innovation lab supported by the Bangladeshi government), Bank Asia and Mastercard have signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) to facilitate financial inclusion in Bangladesh by making digital payment services accessible countrywide through the Union Digital Centres (UDCs).
The project is aimed at the country’s rural unbanked population and will contribute to achieving the government’s vision of creating a “digital Bangladesh” by 2021, a2i says.
It will also assist Bank Asia and Mastercard in extending financial services through UDCs as well as “foster a creation of pro-poor digital financial products and services by linking financial service providers”.
Mastercard will bring to the table its technical knowledge to build “an innovative payment systems in Bangladesh by establishing a digital-payment ecosystem throughout the country”. It will also assist a2i and Bank Asia in implementing the Mastercard co-branded payment cards.
Bank Asia’s agent banking network will handle e-commerce transactions from the UDCs.
“If the government and non-government organisations work jointly, the value of government services will increase tremendously to bring overall benefit to a large number of the people of Bangladesh,” says Kabir bin Anwar, director general (administration), prime minister’s office and project director, a2i programme. He feels that “the underprivileged citizens of Bangladesh” will especially benefit from this initiative.
Bank Asia’s president and MD, Arfan Ali, says the project will “ensure the rights of the rural people of Bangladesh to have a bank account”.
“I strongly believe this joint effort will play a strong role in changing the horizon of the rural economy,” he states.