PRESS RELEASE: Bangladesh Government joins the Better Than Cash Alliance
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
DHAKA, Bangladesh, June 3, 2015 — Aligned with the nation’s Digital Bangladesh Vision 2021, the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh today announced it will accelerate its transition from cash to digital payments, marked by a new partnership with the Better Than Cash Alliance. With mounting evidence that digital financial services are a sustainable strategy to deliver effective access to financial services for all citizens, the move also supports the Government’s efforts to advance financial inclusion.
The Government plans to digitize all forms of social safety payments to citizens, and all forms of fees that citizens make to the Government for services. In addition, it will enable the digitization of domestic and international remittances and financial transactions for e-commerce.
Around the world, creating an economy where digital payments are widely available is gaining recognition from many governments as a means to reduce costs, increase transparency and in turn, advance financial inclusion and inclusive economic growth.
Among the various aspects of the Bangladesh commitment, the Government will look to advance public and private sector collaboration to build the necessary infrastructure to reach more citizens with financial services.
“Joining the Better Than Cash Alliance and committing to a holistic transition from cash to digital payments is part of our recognition of the transformative role of information and communication technologies in creating inclusive growth in Bangladesh,” said Mr. Abul Kalam Azad, Principal Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Chair of the Steering Committee for Access to Information Programme (a2i). The PMO is leading the Digital Bangladesh Vision 2021 agenda of the Government facilitated by a2i with technical assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
“Our effort will focus specifically on achieving greater financial inclusion through our more than 5,000 Digital Centres that were established in all rural and urban local government institutions around the country,” said Mr. Abul Kalam Azad. “These Centres already provide an average of 4.5 million underserved citizens with access every month to a wide array of more than 60 digital services. By mandating that one of the two entrepreneurs managing these Digital Centres is a woman, we ensure a more gender-sensitive service delivery environment.”
Based at the United Nations, the Better Than Cash Alliance is a partnership of governments, companies, and international organizations that accelerates the transition from cash to digital payments in order to drive inclusive growth and help people lift themselves out of poverty. Bangladesh’s membership with the Alliance will allow it to collaborate with and learn from other countries and apply those learnings to improve the efficiency and transparency of the national transition.
“Bangladesh has shown great vision in setting out their Digital Bangladesh Vision 2021 agenda, and has already achieved impressive progress with the provision of salaries to government employees all over the country via digital means,” said Dr. Ruth Goodwin-Groen, Managing Director of the Better Than Cash Alliance. “By joining the Alliance, Bangladesh will have access to the experience of other member countries, as well as be able to share their lessons on the expansion of digital payments. We look forward to working with the leaders of Bangladesh to advance digital payments nationwide.”
Bangladesh joins more than 40 other Better Than Cash Alliance members, and will have access to the knowledge and technical expertise offered by the Alliance and its members to accelerate the shift to digital payments, helping to advance economic growth and expand financial inclusion to all citizens of Bangladesh.