The "Making Markets Work for the Chars (M4C)" project, a joint initiative by the Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh and the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives (LGRD), Government of Bangladesh, successfully hosted a transformative event in collaboration with BetterStories Limited on Saturday.
The event brought together a diverse group of stakeholders, including char entrepreneurs, financial institutions, investors, private sector entities, research and think-tanks, policy actors, and development organizations.
The event, held at a hotel in Dhaka, aimed to showcase the promising landscape of char entrepreneurs and facilitate discussions on financial market insights and options for sustainable development in the char (river islands) region.
The session, organized by the M4C project, featured engaging interactions, a plenary session moderated by BetterStories Chief Storyteller Minhaz Anwar, and insightful discussions on the current state and future potential of the char economy.
The event highlighted the growing char economy, emphasizing the pivotal role played by char entrepreneurs in driving this growth journey. Five stalls were arranged in the program to showcase the unique business of the char entrepreneurs.
The Plenary Session provided a platform for leaders in the financial market to share insights and unwrap key aspects of the char financial landscape. While acknowledging the progress made by microfinance institutions, alternative investment platforms and banks in supporting char entrepreneurs, it was emphasized that more needs to be done.
Opportunities for collaboration, convergence, and confluence between public agencies, private companies, local market actors, and research/consultancies were identified as crucial for further development.
Mr. Mujibul (Cezanne) Hasan, Country Director, Swisscontact Bangladesh; Syeda Zinia Rashid, PhD, Senior Programme Officer, The Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh; Mr. Md. Khurshid Iqbal Rezvi, Director General, Rural Development Academy; Mosammat Hamida Begum, Senior Secretary, Rural Development & Co-operative Division, and Dr Nomita Halder, ndc, Managing Director, PKSF; were present and shared their perspectives and insights in the event.
Mosammat Hamida Begum, Senior Secretary, Rural Development & Co-operative Division said, "I urge private sector organizations and financiers to look beyond profitability in known markets and instead focus on profitability in emerging markets such as the chars. This will certainly open new doors for the nation."
Mr. Md. Khurshid Iqbal Rezvi, Director General, Rural Development Academy said, 'the char regions are highly vulnerable to climate-related issues such as extreme drought and floods. The lack of market linkage further adds to these issues.
We have been working on these issues by using climate-smart technology and innovation models that have significantly alleviated these problems."
Dr Nomita Halder, ndc, Managing Director, PKSF said, "I am overjoyed to see the remarkable work done by M4C in the chars. I have personally seen the resilience and commitment of the char people. They want to be productive.
They want to make full use of every opportunity they get. I believe if more banks and financial institutions come forward they can make every effort count."
Published by the Editor on behalf of the Observer Ltd. from Globe Printers, 24/A, New Eskaton Road, Ramna, Dhaka.
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