Pakistan (Muhammad Yasir) With the aim to help increase financial inclusion, especially of underserved groups in the country, Karandaaz is all set to launch a comprehensive demand-side survey – Karandaaz Financial Inclusion Survey (K-FIS), a nationally and provincially representative financial inclusion survey of over 6,600 individuals across Pakistan. The survey aims to track access to and demand for financial services, especially digital financial services. The survey will help measure the adoption and use of a range of financial services among key underserved groups, including females, the poor, rural, and others. It will identify drivers and barriers to the adoption of digital financial services. The survey aims to produce actionable, forward-looking insights based on rigorous data to support product and service development and delivery. Financial inclusion – the extent to which individuals are included in the formal financial system is a development priority for governments across the world. This emphasis is based on the rationale that financial inclusion leads to social equality and confers tangible benefits for segments at the bottom of the pyramid that can benefit through better access and cost-effective financial services. Having a financial account makes it easier, safer, and cheaper to receive wages from employers, send remittances to family members, and make payments for goods and services. Mobile money accounts make it possible, even for the poor, to save and cope with adverse shocks. Individual accounts give women more say on their household finances or save at their own pace or towards their own goals. Moreover, micro and small businesses are provided with effective means to access formal financial services, allowing them to be linked with the documented economy. Reciprocally, financial institutions and governments benefit from the increased size of the formal economy through several means, such as enhanced business revenue and tax collection. Pakistan is one of several countries with a National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) targeting financial inclusion as a goal. The strategy has usage and access to digital accounts as the first pillar of an extensive plan. The metrics through which basic financial inclusion is measured are vital, and data is the backbone of programs aimed at strengthening the financial ecosystem through private and public interventions. To support financial inclusion in Pakistan, Karandaaz believes making data-driven decisions and evidence-based policymaking will be key to realizing the country’s NFIS goals. Furthermore, it is important to have clear definitions, metrics, and estimates for better planning and intervention designs. Mr. Waqas ul Hasan, CEO Karandaaz says, “It is estimated that the achievement of NFIS goals will add $5.5 billion to the GDP and create 3 million new jobs out of 1 million will be through digitization alone. K-FIS responds to the need for timely demand-side data and practical insights into major drivers of financial inclusion, chiefly digital financial services, including mobile money, and the potential for its expanded use, especially among unserved and underserved population segments. Karandaaz proudly takes ownership of this survey, whose depth and breadth allow for analysis of a large number of financial inclusion indicators by several segments such as urban and rural, gender and provinces. In conducting this rich survey, we are collecting important data on a rich set of indicators and promoting a data-centric culture within the financial ecosystem.” The survey findings will be shared via a Zoom webinar on February 7 followed by two-panel discussions. The panelists for the discussions include Dr. Rashid Bajwa, CEO NRSP; Mr. Muhammad Aurangzeb, President HBL; Mr. Sohail Javaad, ED Digital Financial Services Group, State Bank of Pakistan; Mr. Mudassir Aqil, CEO Telenor Microfinance Bank; and Mr. Mohd. Yahya, Head of Digital, Bank Alfalah. Dr. Nafisa Shah, Member of the National Assembly, will deliver the closing address.
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