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Digital Financial Services in Agriculture and MSME Sectors

Bangladesh’s growth trajectory over the last decade has been exemplary with consistent economic growth led by RMG export, steady remittance flow, stable forex reserve, private sector consumption and public sector investments. Despite the consistent growth, some sectors are still performing well below their potential such as — Agriculture and MSME.

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Agriculture accounts for around 13.6% of the GDP of Bangladesh and employs about 40.6% of the total labor force of the country. The MSME sector is the largest segment of the national economy accounting for 25% of the GDP. Limited access to finance has been one of the core impediments for these sectors’ growth.

Between 2011 to 2018, Bangladesh’s overall financial inclusion grew by 56.3% fueled by strong policy support from the government, initiatives from the private sector and intervention by the multilateral development partners. The remarkable growth of Mobile Financial Services (MFS), agent banking services by scheduled banks and Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFI), micro-enterprise lending programs by Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) expedited financial inclusion. However, only 37.2% of the population involved in the agriculture sector are financially included at present, while only 28.4% of the 8.1 Mn MSMEs are being served by the existing formal financial channel.

With a view to recommend specific strategies to accelerate DFS adoption by the target groups, access our full report to delve deeper into sectoral challenges and opportunities we have unearthed in consultation with key stakeholder groups – MFS, MFIs, banks, NBFIs, SME digital integrators, development finance institutions and regulators.