Digitizing payments can add BDT 50,058 crores to Bangladesh’s annual GDP

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Dhaka, Bangladesh, April 20, 2022: Digital payments can boost Bangladesh’s annual GDP by 1.7 percent, an addition of US$6.2 billion (BDT 50,058 crores) annually to the economy, according to a new report by the United Nations-based Better Than Cash Alliance and its member, the Government of Bangladesh’s flagship program a2i. Hon’ble Planning Minister Mr. M. A. Mannan MP today in an online event officially launched two publications titled ‘National Digital Payments Roadmap, Bangladesh 2022-2025’ and ‘Measuring progress to scale: Responsible digital payments in Bangladesh’.

In his speech as the chief guest, Hon’ble Planning Minister Mr. M. A. Mannan MP said, Bangladesh’s economy has grown significantly in the last 13 years. We are moving forward towards being recognized as one of the top 25 economies in the world by 2035. By 2030, we want to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and by 2041, we want to transform into a fully developed state. Digitization can play a crucial role in this journey. It is one of the main commitments of our government and we are working diligently to achieve this goal by building a cash-less society, leaving no one behind.

“There are many areas where we have already witnessed remarkable adoption of digital payments. As digital payments ecosystem grows in scale and complexity, its dependence on infrastructure increases commensurately. We are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that we build a reliable and inclusive digital infrastructure that will serve as the foundation on which digital payments and services can be built,” said Mr. Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor, a2i.

“Bangladesh has achieved remarkable progress towards the Digital Bangladesh vision. Digital transactions have grown from 5 percent to 20 percent in 5 years – an impressive four-fold increase. It has also withstood the impact of the pandemic by digitally delivering social safety payments, wages, and stimulus packages to citizens and industries,” said Camilo Tellez, Deputy Managing Director at the Better Than Cash Alliance. “We look forward to continuing our work with the leaders of Bangladesh to advance digital payments nationwide, particularly for women, and sharing lessons from Bangladesh with our global Alliance members.”

The publication reports that 53 percent of the US$6.2 billion will come from digitizing just 30 percent of micro-merchant transactions in the retail sector; 45 percent from digitizing credit disbursements in the agricultural sector; and the remaining from scaling digital wages in the informal ready-made garments (RMG) sector. Responsible payments digitization in these sectors, crucially prioritizing women, will help accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Since joining the Better Than Cash Alliance in 2015, reports suggest that Bangladesh has made significant progress in moving towards a digital economy. Based on the reports, the government has released the National Digital Payments Roadmap 2022-2025. The roadmap identifies 22 solutions to build a safe, interoperable, and inclusive digital payments ecosystem over the next three years in the ready-made garment (RMG), retail, agriculture, health, and education sectors.

On the occasion, Md. Khurshid Alam, Executive Director of Bangladesh Bank, walked through Bangladesh’s journey towards a cash-less society. Mr. Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor of a2i, discussed about the importance of the report and role it will play while Camilo Tellez, Deputy Managing Director at the Better Than Cash Alliance, talked about UN’s policy on Digital Payments adding to his previous statement. The ‘National Digital Payment Roadmap 2022-25 and Diagnostic Study were presented by Mr. Kiyom Nagodup Masali, Asia Pacific Head of Better Than Cash Alliance and Mr. Nabila Khurshid, Bangladesh-Lead of Better Than Cash Alliance.

a2i
The a2i, of the ICT Division and Cabinet Division, supported by UNDP, builds on the Government of Bangladesh’s efforts to introduce a citizen-centric culture of innovation in civil service to improve public service delivery and make services more inclusive, affordable, reliable and easier to access. The collective efforts of the Bangladesh Government have led to considerable experimentation and creation of prototype solutions. a2i builds on this momentum and provides support to establish institutional mechanisms that incentivize, sustain and scale innovations to attain sustainable impact, incorporating the private sector in this innovation process to improve public service delivery.

Better Than Cash Alliance
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 responsible digital payments to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The Alliance has nearly 80 members, who are committed to digitizing payments to boost efficiency, transparency, women’s economic participation and financial inclusion, helping build economies that are digital and inclusive. For more details, visit: https://www.betterthancash.org/