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Assessing the Impact of Digitally-Enabled Microcredit for Smallholder Farmers: Findings from the A-Card pilot initiative

mSTAR/Bangladesh, working with the Agriculture Extension Support Activity (AESA) led by Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM), conducted pre- and post-assessments in Faridpur district to understand the impact that a micro-credit product (called A-Card) delivered to smallholder farmers through Bank Asia’s agent banking had on participating farmers, associated ag-input retailers, and other relevant stakeholders, as well as to understand what further action can be taken to improve uptake of these services.

Understanding Mobile-Enabled Agri-Credit Adoption Among Rice Farmers

The mSTAR/Bangladesh project, working with the Rice Value Chain (RVC) Project led by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), conducted pre- and post-assessments in Jessore and Satkhira to understand the benefits, challenges and overall experience of farmers who adopted an agri-credit product delivered via IFIC Mobile Banking. This product provided loans for agricultural inputs to smallholder farmers amounting to BDT 10,000 (US $125) with a six-month repayment period.

Opportunities for Digital Financial Services for Agricultural Mechanization in Bangladesh: A Market Landscape Assessment

The mSTAR/Bangladesh project, working with the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia - Mechanization and Irrigation (CSISA-MI) project, conducted an assessment in six districts of southwest Bangladesh to look at opportunities for digital financial services integration in agricultural mechanization services. This included an examination of potential financial products that could be proposed to financial institutions for creating opportunities for mechanization service providers and users to access financial support through digital channels.

Agent Banking Infosheet: NRB Commercial Bank

This two-page publication provides an overview of the agent banking services offered by NRB Commercial Bank in Bangladesh for corporate users. It includes steps for setting up a corporate account, details on pricing and transaction limits, brief examples of how other organizations are using their service, and contact information for their corporate sales. It is one of a series of Infosheets intended to help USAID implementing partners better understand the options that exist for digital financial services in Bangladesh.

Workshop on Digital Payments for AIRN Members through Agent Banking

mSTAR/Bangladesh received a technical assistance request from the Agro-Inputs Retailers Network (AIRN), which is supported by USAID’s Agro-Inputs Project, in February 2017 to support them to explore DFS adoption among AIRN members. In connection with that request, mSTAR/B conducted two technical workshops for AIRN members in March 2017 about using agent banking for digital payments. Md. Ataur Rahman, mSTAR/B Team Lead, facilitated the workshop sessions.

Financial Inclusion Week 2016 Event Highlights

This document provides a recap of the “Increasing the Uptake of Formal Financial Services through a Client-Centric Approach” event hosted by mSTAR/Bangladesh on October 19, 2016 in Bangladesh as part of Financial Inclusion Week 2016. The event focused on a discussion of driving financial inclusion in Bangladesh through client-centered digital financial services and was attended by more than 35 individuals.

mSTAR/Bangladesh: Technical Assistance to IRRI Bangladesh

The Rice Value Chain (RVC) project is a 15-month pilot project run by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Bangladesh to support the private sector with the goal of improving the efficiency of the rice value chain. RVC is working through eight partners and the intervention areas are mostly in the south and southwest of Bangladesh.

The Potential of Using Digital Financial Services for Savings Groups in Bangladesh

The primary goal of this assessment was to increase understanding of the structure of savings groups in Bangladesh, which are mainly represented by lower-income populations, as well as the financial behavior (both savings and expenses) of members of those savings groups, in order to identify opportunities that may exist for leveraging digital financial services. The assessment looked into the challenges facing different savings groups with regards to cash management, required level of effort to manage a savings group (cost and time), literacy, and exposure to financial services.

Digitizing Payments: From Theory to Practice

This workshop focused on the process of adopting mobile money by USAID IPs. Jeff deGraffenried, Activity Manager for mSTAR at USAID/Bangladesh, and M Ataur Rahman, mSTAR/Bangladesh Project Team Lead, gave an overview of mSTAR project and its key components. Jaheed Parvez, mSTAR/Bangladesh Technical Lead, then talked about the process of how MM can be incorporated in USAID projects and conducted a simulated group exercise for the participants.

Mobile Money Integration Assessment for SPRING Project

The mSTAR team received a request from the SPRING project on May 31, 2015, to investigate the scope of integrating mobile money in their project. The mSTAR team conducted a scoping study covering SPRING’s Khulna field office to: i) Map the transaction flow between SPRING’s Khulna divisional office and Upazilla Coordinators (UCs); and, ii) Conduct a cost-benefit analysis of integrating mobile money into government training programs organized by UCs.

Mobile Money Integration Assessment for Agro-Inputs Project

The mSTAR team received a request from the Agro-Inputs Project (AIP) on April 29, 2015, to investigate the scope of integrating mobile money in their project. The mSTAR team conducted a scoping study covering AIP Khulna field office, members of the Agro-Input Retailers’ Network (AIRN) and farmers in order to: i) Understand the financial behavior of wholesalers, retailers, and farmers during peak and off-peak season. ii) Map the transaction flow between wholesalers, retailers, and farmers during peak and off-peak season.

The Transition Benefit: From Cash to Mobile Financial Services in the Aponjon Initiative, Bangladesh

This assessment was conducted to systematically understand the benefit of transitioning from cash to mobile financial services (MFS), under an mHealth initiative for expectant and new mothers (branded as Aponjon), which is run by Dnet in Bangladesh. The transition was made with an expectation of efficiency gains in Aponjon’s incentive payment system to Aponjon agents at the community level, which are provided to them for customer acquisitions that they make.

The Firm to Farm Finance Toolkit

The Firm to Farm Finance (F2FF) toolkit aims to codify and use the learning of iDE-Bangladesh’s successful rural business credit (RBC) pilot experience to inform the research and development of innovative and promising access to finance solutions for low-income households and communities.

Insights on Payment Practices in Bangladesh: Cash and Mobile Finance Habits

This study, conducted by Dnet under a grant provided through USAID’s Mobile Solutions and Technical Assistance (mSTAR) project, captures how customer acquisition agents for Dnet’s Aponjon Program are using mobile phones. Aponjon is an mHealth initiative focused on maternal and child healthcare. Aponjon deploys agents across the country to increase subscriptions to the mobile phone service; agents receive an incentive payment based on the number of customer acquisitions they make.

mSTAR Quarterly Report | Q3 FY14

The five-year Mobile Solutions Technical Assistance and Research (mSTAR) award is a broad, flexible, and responsive program designed to foster the rapid adoption and scale-up of mobile money, mobile access, and mobile data in developing countries.

Baseline Survey on the Status of Mobile Money Usage by USAID/B IPs

This report presents the key findings from the baseline survey undertaken by the USAID-funded Mobile Solutions Technical Assistance and Research (mSTAR) project in order to assess the current state of mobile money (MM) usage by USAID/B Implementing Partners (IPs) in Bangladesh. The baseline survey was sent to 47 contacts at 43 USAID/B IPs that were implementing health (n = 31) and agriculture (n =12) projects from April to June 2014.

Bangladesh Portfolio Assessment

The mobile banking market in Bangladesh has seen rapid growth in recent years. However, significant progress still needs to be made before Bangladesh’s poor can fully realize the benefits of mobile banking. One area that promises significant near term opportunities to serve the needs of these groups is in government-sponsored payments. By utilizing mobile money or e-payment mechanisms, inefficiencies associated with disbursements can be reduced.

mSTAR Quarterly Report | Q2 FY14

The five-year Mobile Solutions Technical Assistance and Research (mSTAR) award is a broad, flexible, and responsive program designed to foster the rapid adoption and scale-up of mobile money, mobile access, and mobile data in developing countries.