BRAC Bank & Gates Foundation Boost Digital Inclusion in Bangladesh

By: GWL Team | Wednesday, 13 December 2023

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has approved a grant for BRAC Bank, a critical step toward improving digital financial inclusion for cottage micro and small businesses (CMSEs) and women in Bangladesh's banking system.

The money has been awarded by a private charity based in the United States to help BRAC Bank's efforts to achieve critical milestones for broader financial inclusion across the country. BRAC Bank, a pioneer in digital financial inclusion, plans to use the funding to enhance its digital banking app, 'Astha,' as well as its smart finance processing system, 'Shafollo.'

The effort intends to bring financial services to underserved areas, with a particular emphasis on digital interventions for faster and broader results. The primary purpose of the initiative is to provide digital lending options to CMSEs via the Shafollo application, which provides unsecured, low-cost, and simplified small-ticket borrowing.

Furthermore, the award will empower marginalized women by providing tailored formal banking products and services, which will be made possible through agent banking, market linkage programs, and capacity building activities. BRAC Bank's Managing Director and CEO, Selim R. F. Hussain, expressed thanks for the gift, underlining the bank's commitment to social empowerment and financial inclusion.

BRAC Bank's Deputy Managing Director and Head of SME Banking, Syed Abdul Momen, emphasized the grant's potential to expand digital financial inclusion activities by using the bank's large network and digital capabilities. This strategic partnership intends to boost financial inclusion activities and have a long-term impact on microentrepreneurs and women at the grassroots level.