Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) Karandaaz Pakistan has launched its Financial Inclusion of Women Challenge. Through this focused challenge, Karandaaz seeks to support solutions to address the critical issue of women missing out on the benefits otherwise possible through their financial inclusion such as having agency over money, savings, and access to credit. According to 2018 Global Gender Gap Report, Pakistan ranks 148th out of 149 countries in the global parity index. According to World Bank Findex 2017, only 7% of women in Pakistan are part of the formal financial system.
Karandaaz is helping bridge this gap and soliciting proposals from financial service providers, including but not limited to digital financial service providers, financial institutions, microfinance institutions, and microfinance banks; research and advisory firms; and other relevant market players to device gender-smart, women-centric financial products and services to cater to the needs and preferences of women. Successful applicants will receive funding through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) for implementing their solutions.
Ali Sarfraz, CEO Karandaaz said, “To make tangible progress towards targets set in the Sustainable Development Goals, Pakistan must take actions to facilitate women’s participation in the process of development. Fostering financial inclusion of women is a core theme for Karandaaz. Karandaaz Financial Inclusion for Women Challenge will provide financial sector innovators an opportunity to pilot, test, or scale interventions that address the gaps in women-specific market segments and remove the bottlenecks in women’s inclusion in the formal financial system. The significance of women’s economic empowerment will be a direct result and it cannot be stressed enough that women’s agency over money and an enabling environment for them to play their due economic role is imperative for sustainable growth.”
AbanHaq, Head of Innovation at Karandaaz said, “Proposed solutions may be in any area that facilitates women’s financial inclusion, including but not limited to issues around credit, savings, payments, mobile wallets, blockchain, alternative credit, e-commerce, insurance, remittances and pensions. It is important for the financial sector to realize that women customers have specific needs and specialized products for women customers will help the formal financial sector reach out to women who have till now been neglected. Women’s economic participation and empowerment is a key way to drive progress in the deep, complicated intersection of poverty and inequality.”
RehanAkhtar, Chief Digital Officer at Karandaaz Pakistan said, “We are hopeful that this initiative will motivate entities to develop and scale solutions that confront the needs of an important yet underrepresented customer segment in the financial services marketplace; that of the women clients. While preference will be given to applicants who can demonstrate that they have already started developing or testing a women-centric product or service, the challenge is also open to applicants at the ideation or pre-revenue stage, as long as they can clearly articulate the value proposition of their solution. This will also spur and support innovation in the financial sector, a core objective of Karandaaz.”