Country Diagnostic: Bangladesh (2022 edition)

© © Better than Cash Alliance/Amit Rudro
2022 Country Diagnostic: Bangladesh


Measuring progress to scale: Responsible digital payments in Bangladesh

Investment in the digital infrastructure of the country has been a priority for the Government of Bangladesh in the past decade, ever since the launch of Digital Bangladesh. The digital infrastructure has enabled the adoption of digital payments, and there is steady growth in the priority sectors. Digital transactions have grown from 5 percent to 20 percent in the last five years – an impressive four-fold increase and 79 percent of the population is now part of the financial ecosystem. Women are being prioritized, but more work is needed.

UN-based Better Than Cash Alliance’s latest country analysis with Government of Bangladesh’s flagship program Aspire to Innovate (a2i) program estimates that digital payments can boost Bangladesh’s annual GDP by 1.7 percent. This means adding US$6.2 billion (BDT 50,058 crores) annually to the economy. Of this, 53 percent 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.

Acting on the findings from the new analysis, the government has released 2022-2025 National Digital Payments Roadmap. The roadmap identifies 22 solutions to build a safe, interoperable, and inclusive digital payments ecosystem over the next three years in priority sectors of ready-made garment (RMG), retail, agriculture, health, and education.

The Bangladesh digital payments diagnostic study should be read in conjunction with the National Digital Payments Roadmap.