Prospects of DFS in Bangladesh in apparel and microfinance

LightCastle Analytics Wing
May 2, 2019
Prospects of DFS in Bangladesh in apparel and microfinance

The Opportunity

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation identified Bangladesh as one of the nexus countries for driving greater financial inclusion to positively impact a million of lives. Currently, the country has a 47% financially included population according to Financial Inclusion Insights (2018) and this is gradually increasing with the higher digitization of products and services and the proliferation of mobile internet users.

The Gates Foundation commissioned two sets of industry landscaping studies: (1) to explore possibilities and challenges associated with the digitization of wages in the apparel sector and (ii) to determine the prospects of digitization in the microfinance sector. Needless to say, the two sectors greatly affect the lives of people living in a low-income bracket.

Want to learn more about Management Consulting?

See Our Service

Our Approach

As the apparel industry of Bangladesh aims to gain higher export in an increasingly competitive global market, sustainability, quality, and digitization have become crucial forms of differentiation and competency. Wage digitization in apparel directly affects the lives of 3.5 million people, who are employed in the industry, living under an income bracket of less than USD 150 a month.

Wage digitization is seen to have a direct positive correlation with the increase in financial inclusion and currently close to a million workers in the apparel industry are drawing salaries in the form of digital wages. Apparel is indubitably a key sector in the context of Bangladesh, and greater digitization in the industry will leave compounded positive effects on the lives of a large workforce.

Our results also suggested a 15% increase in transaction digitization can positively affect the lives of close to 4.5 million women borrowers. Digitization of transactions would not only help microfinance institutions increase efficiency but also potentially reduce interest rates and the cost of borrowing for the underprivileged borrowers.

To conduct an effective assessment of these two studies, we first analyzed respective industry parameters and then developed strategies – discerning ways to accelerate the usage of digital financial services (DFS) for institutional clients. Furthermore, we offered recommendations around product development to grow financial inclusiveness and DFS uptake by large institutional stakeholders. The work entailed gathering insights from a motley of stakeholders through interviews and FGDs.

The published reports can be downloaded here

The Future

Currently, we are in the process of organizing a knowledge dissemination workshop that will corral multi-stakeholders across public, private, and development. We anticipate potential buy-ins from relevant stakeholders to act upon the recommendations that will be shared.


WRITTEN BY: LightCastle Analytics Wing

At LightCastle, we take a systemic and data-driven approach to create opportunities for growth and impact. We are an international management consulting firm which creates systemic and data-driven opportunities for growth and impact in emerging markets. By collaborating with development partners and leveraging the power of the private sector, we strive to boost economies, inspire businesses, and change lives at scale.

For further clarifications, contact here: [email protected]

Want to collaborate with us?

Our experts can help you solve your unique challenges