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A. Malkani, DFS, Karandaaz: Pakistan - Financial Inclusion
2018-08-27

Understanding more about the day-to-day lives of the poor and the coping mechanisms and strategies they employ to survive could help us create a system that caters to them and develop a little more empathy in the process.

Ovais, a cook in my neighborhood, borrowed money from his brother-in-law to help with the construction of his house. He was initially offered the money as an interest-free loan on the condition that he allow his brother-in-law to live with him. Following a disagreement, his brother-in-law demanded repayment in full, with interest. With no savings, Ovais found himself in a financial crisis and asked his employers for additional loans to help him pay off the initial one.

Around the same time, a caretaker of the buildings in our area reached out for assistance as heavy rains had caused the roof of his house to collapse and he did not have any spare cash to repair it, and a driver in our neighborhood informed us of his daughter’s upcoming marriage and requested assistance to meet the expenditures for the wedding and dowry.

Chinese E-Commerce Giant to Begin Services in Pakistan This Year
2018-08-17

Alipay invested $184.5 million for a 45% stake in Telenor Microfinance Bank, a subsidiary of Telenor Group. The investment was made with the aim to further the development of Telenor Microfinance Bank’s mobile payment and digital financial services in Pakistan.

Alipay, the online payment platform owned by the Chinese tech giant Ant Financial and e-commerce leader Alibaba, is set to begin its services in Pakistan by the end of this year. A deal was signed between Norwegian multinational telecommunications company and Ant Financial Services Group back in March this year.

Accordingly, the latter invested $184.5 million for a 45% stake in Telenor Microfinance Bank, a subsidiary of Telenor Group. The investment was made with the aim to further the development of Telenor Microfinance Bank’s mobile payment and digital financial services in Pakistan.

Microfinance or microcredit is a type of banking service that is provided to the unemployed or low-income groups or individuals who don’t have access to finance otherwise. The amount may range from a $100 to a few thousand dollars

Ant Financial was founded in 2014 and is dedicated to building a technology-driven open ecosystem. It is an online payment services provider that enables individuals and businesses to execute e-commerce transactions in a secure manner. It operates on Alipay, the world’s largest mobile, and online payments platform.

‘Easypaisa Loan’, Pakistan’s First Digital Nano Loan Launched by Telenor Microfinance Bank
2018-08-17

In continuation of its effort to increase financial inclusion, as part of the Government of Pakistan’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy of 2015 and the Strategic Goals of SBP’s vision 2020, Telenor Microfinance Bank has launched "Easypaisa Loan", the country’s first ever Digital Nano Loan. The loan is processed and transferred to the customer’s Easypaisa account (mWallet) within two minutes conveniently without the need to visit a branch or fill out paperwork.

This innovative service is aimed at the common man who has no access to formal loans or banking services. It enables easy access to working capital requirements for farmers, self-employed individuals, street hawkers, and home-based workers. It also works as an effective tool in creating financial literacy by incentivizing positive credit behaviour through access to better borrowing terms.

Micro-Entrepreneurship Changing Lives of Poor
2018-07-12

Starting his business with only2-3 stitching machines and now runs a centre with more than 100 machines, Naseem’s journey has been inspirational.

The Citi – PPAF Micro-entrepreneurship Awards (CMA), delivered in partnership by the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) and Citi Foundation the philanthropic arm of Citibank, Pakistan, announced the national winners of the 12th Citi – PPAF Micro entrepreneurship Awards.

Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Tariq Bajwa, was the chief guest at the event. Naseem Maseeh from Karachi and Sanobar from Hyderabad were the national winners for the 12th CMA. Naseem is the owner of a stitching centre, earns Rs50,000 to Rs60,000 per month, and has trained more than 5,000 girls in his centre.

Naseem is physically disabled but he never lost hope and was encouraged by The First Microfinance Bank Ltd. to start his own business. Starting his business with only2-3 stitching machines and now runs a centre with more than 100 machines, Naseem’s journey has been inspirational. He plans to expand his business by opening other stitching centres on large scale in other areas. Naseem says, “Disabled people generally have a hard time gaining people’s trust and acceptance. "I have suffered a lot but now my life has totally changed after I was given the opportunity by The First Microfinance Bank Ltd," he said.

Women and Empowerment
2018-06-29

The process of engagement has put women at the centre of the household economy and decision-making.

Social and political spaces of expression for women have increasingly been squeezed in Pakistan over the years. The concerted social media vilification campaigns run against outspoken women by our misogynists, in the millions, are one of the indicators of our societal downfall.

The facts of our downfall stare at us with an alarming caution that Pakistan has become one of the worst places for women to live in. Let us dwell on some of these alarming facts to make sense of the appalling state of affairs vis-a-vis women’s rights in Pakistan.

According to the Global Gender Gap Report (2017), Pakistan ranks 136th on the attainment of education index, 140th on health and survival and 95th on the political empowerment of women, out of the 144 countries assessed in the report. Pakistan scored 0.546 overall on a scale wherein a score of 1.0 represents parity and 0 represents imparity. The country’s female/male population ratio was recorded at 1.06. The index denotes the country’s widening gender gap over the decade, as it ranked 112 out of 115 in the year 2006. In the 2017 index, Pakistan only beats Yemen, whereas, interestingly, war-torn Syria is ahead of Pakistan.

SMEs shrunk considerably due to govt borrowing, high transaction costs, fear of NPLs financing
2018-05-20

Despite SMEs sectors, tremendous contribution towards national economy, only a fractional number of 171,000 SMEs have formal access to finance of Rs374 billion (as on September 30, 2017) through banks and DFIs. Out of the total 171,000 SMEs obtaining financing pie, 88 percent are small enterprises while 12 percent are medium-sized entities. Small enterprises occupy Rs154 billion of the financing, while 12 percent of the medium enterprises account for Rs222 billion.

Pakistan is currently housing over 3 million Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), employing about 78 percent of country’s non-agricultural labour force, that accounted for 30 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 25 percent of the country’s exports of manufactured products.

Despite SMEs sectors, tremendous contribution towards national economy, only a fractional number of 171,000 SMEs have formal access to finance of Rs374 billion (as on September 30, 2017) through banks and DFIs. Out of the total 171,000 SMEs obtaining financing pie, 88 percent are small enterprises while 12 percent are medium-sized entities. Small enterprises occupy Rs154 billion of the financing, while 12 percent of the medium enterprises account for Rs222 billion.

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