Thursday, May 18 • 11:45 - 12:25
The impact of DFS Innovation on the UN SDGs LIMITED

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mSTAR is a global strategic investment by USAID and implemented by FHI 360 to advance mobile solutions and close the gaps that hold back access and uptake of mobile technology. In Bangladesh, mSTAR has worked with more than a dozen USAID implementing partners (IPs) to support the acceleration and adoption of digital financial services (DFS) within their projects and among the populations that they serve, both of which have direct impact on the UN SDGs.

Very recently, mSTAR/B has helped to introduce two completely new DFS innovations in Bangladesh to provide smallholder farmers with agricultural lending, savings, transfers and merchant payments. These pilots are the first examples to date in Bangladesh where a bank and MFIs have partnered to extend micro-credit agricultural loans to farmers. Farmers are also able to use such microcredit to securely and easily purchase inputs from participating retailers using a digital channel, in particular through mobile phones and NFC-enabled debit cards. Farmers are now able to access microcredit at rates less than half of what they had previously had access to and with extremely flexible re-payment terms and conditions, with repayment due in full after six months, as opposed to weekly repayments from other sources. From a recent survey of participating farmers, it appears that in addition to the better interest rates and repayment terms, the loans have also enabled farmers to have more flexibility in the types of inputs they purchase (as farmers are no longer dependent on credit from retailers, who would push them to buy certain products) and when they can sell their crops (as the flexible repayment terms enable them to sell their crops later at a higher price, rather than rushing to sell). We hope that these ground-breaking innovative products will help to revolutionize agricultural financing in Bangladesh.

These innovations are contributing to five of the UN Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 1, SDG 2, SDG 5, SDG 8 and SDG 9.

avatar for MD Majidul Haque

MD Majidul Haque

Technical Lead - Digital Financial Services, FHI 360
Md. Majidul Haque is the technical lead – Digital Financial Services (DFS) for the USAID mSTAR project implemented by FHI 360 in Bangladesh. He has just under a decade of experience in the technology and financial services sectors in Bangladesh, including DFS providers and Mobile... Read More →

Thursday May 18, 2017 11:45 - 12:25 IST