BRAC has today announced that the Frugal Innovation Forum 2020, scheduled to take place from 18 to 20 April, 2020 will be postponed following the global outbreak of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus). This difficult decision was reached after careful monitoring of the COVID-19 escalation and consultations with health experts.

The Frugal Innovation Forum is a unique platform by practitioners, for practitioners, to converse and ideate solutions for communities in the Global South. This year’s forum intends to host global practitioners, thinkers, researchers, policymakers and financial ecosystem partners to brainstorm solutions to the enduring challenges in financial inclusion for women through digital services. We remain as committed as ever to this forum and plan to reschedule for later this year.

We are moving as swiftly as possible to decide how we might use this opportunity to come together in new ways. Your safety remains our utmost priority, as governments, entities and communities navigate these difficult circumstances to the best of their abilities.


1.7 billion adults in the world are unbanked. Among them, more than half are women.

The rise of digital financial services is expected to advance women’s financial inclusion. Yet, there is a persistent gender gap in account ownership. In Bangladesh, the gap is 29 percentage points, the highest in the world.

How can we find simple solutions to the many challenges that impede women’s financial inclusion?

The 7th Frugal Innovation Forum will bring together global practitioners, thinkers, researchers, policymakers and financial ecosystem partners to brainstorm solutions to the enduring challenges in financial inclusion for women through digital services.

FIF 2020 will aim to:

  • Deepen our understanding of ecosystem drivers that enable digital financial inclusion for women
  • Take stock check of evidence and use cases to identify what has and hasn’t worked for women’s financial inclusion
  • Identify steps for reducing exclusion and explore opportunities for partnerships to tackle it
  • Focus on targeted and/or emerging innovations addressing unbanked women – and identify roadmap to maximise their impact

Let’s come together at Savar, Bangladesh to explore grassroots progress, evaluate evidence for impact, and forge effective partnerships to maintain momentum in delivering financial inclusion.


Tentative agenda

Field exposure visit

9.00am - 9.15am
Welcome message

9.15am - 9.30am

9:30m - 10:30 am
Have digital financial services delivered on their promise to women?

10.30am - 11.00am

11.00am - 11:30pm
Coffee Break

11:45pm - 1:00pm

  • From access to empowerment: How do we help low literacy clients adapt?
  • Exploring possibilities: Developing use cases that matter to women
  • Workshop: Nudging clients to encourage uptake

1.00pm - 2.30pm
Lunch and networking break

2.30pm - 3.30pm
  • Harnessing the power of proxies to champion women’s financial inclusion
  • Wage digitisation: Is it working for women?

3.30pm - 4.00pm
Coffee break

4.00pm - 5.30pm
Access first, use later.

5.30pm - 6.00pm
Inauguration of exhibit space

6.00pm - 8.00pm

9.00am - 10:00am
A name to blame: Who is responsible for ensuring digital financial inclusion?

10:15 am - 11:15 am

  • Transforming DFS: the emerging role of super platforms for women’s financial inclusion
  • NextGen tech for financial inclusion: Can DFS be made easier still?
  • Bringing back-end operations front and center

11:15 am - 11:45 am
Coffee break

11.45 am - 1:15 pm
  • Evidence on women’s economic empowerment through DFS and making a difference through data informed decisions
  • The Dark Side of DFS: data confidentiality and consumer protection

1.15pm - 2.30pm
Lunch and networking break

2.30pm - 3.30pm
Rethinking regulation for digital financial inclusion

3.30pm - 4.00pm
Coffee break

4.00 pm - 4:30 pm

4:30pm - 5:15pm
What’s next for financial inclusion?

5:15pm - 5:45pm
Closing reflections and remarks


Greta Bull

Chief Executive Officer, CGAP

Gregory Chen

Policy Lead, CGAP

Andrée Simon

President and Chief Executive Officer, FINCA Impact FInance

Dr. Rubana Huq

President , Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, BGMEA

Mamie Kalonda


Rosa Wang

Global Director of Digital Financial Services, Opportunity International

Asif Saleh

Executive Director, BRAC Bangladesh

Louis De Koker

Professor of Law, La Trobe Law School, CGAP Consultant

Parul Seth Khanna

Cofounder and Director, Pinbox solutions

Shameran Abed

Senior Director, Microfinance, Ultra Poor Graduation, BRAC and BRAC International

Ajaita Shah

Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Frontier Markets

Rajeev Kumar Gupta

Programme Manager, SHIFT ASEAN & SAARC, UNCDF

Maria May

Senior Program Officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Akhand Tiwari

Associate Partner, Microsave Consulting

Sonia Bashir Kabir

Founder & Chairman, SBK Foundation

Cheng Cheng

Director, Expansion, Tala

Kamal Quadir

Chief Executive Officer, bKash

Farmina Hossain

Additional Director, BURO Bangladesh

Laura Litvine

Senior Advisor, The Behavioural Insights Team

Syeda Ishrat Fatema

Team Lead, Sarathi Project, Swisscontact

Smita Nimilita

Country Rep, HERProject, Bangladesh, BSR

Kathy Guis

Senior Director, Partner Investments,

Afsana Islam

Private Sector Development Adviser and Deputy Team Leader, Growth and Private Sector Development, DFID

Nidhi Parkeh

Project Director, DiGiFi, JPAL Africa

Sarfraz Shah

Director of Insurance, PULA

Faheem Ali

Chief Risk Officer, Musoni, Kenya Ltd

Afeef Zaman

Chief Executive Officer & Cofounder, ShopUP

Dr. Imran Matin

Executive Director, BRAC Institute of Governence and Development

Rakib Avi

Programme Coordinator, Executive Director's Office and Social Innovation Lab, BRAC

KAM Morshed

Director, Advocacy for Social Change, Technology, and Partnership Strengthening Unit, BRAC

Mercy Wachira

Digital Innovation and Implementation Lead, Microfinance, BRAC International

Anir Chowdhury

Policy Advisor, a2i

Shweta Pereira

Director, Customer Strategy & Project Management, Accion

Ella Moffat

HERfinance Manager, BSR

Olayinka David-West

Professor of Information Systems & Digital Financial Services Specialist

Okocha Nkem

Chief Executive Officer, Mamamoni Limited

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