Karandaaz Pakistan holds workshop to mull ways to foster women’s financial inclusion

Pakistan’s foremost agency for promotion of financial inclusion and access to finance, Karandaaz Pakistan held a half-day workshop to deliberate on waysto promote and expedite the process ofwomen’s financial inclusion in the country.

Karandaaz Pakistan is provided institutional and financial support by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID)and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). The workshop was sponsored by BMGF and attended by representatives from The International Finance Corporation (IFC), Khushhali Bank, FINCA Bank, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), FinSurgents and various other players in the financial inclusion space.Guest speakers from international promoters of financial inclusion, Women’s World Banking (WWB) and ideas42 shared global experience and learning from the financial inclusion of women.

Pakistani women constitute about 51 percent of the total population of the country but as per World Bank statistics, only 5 percent have a bank account.”Fostering financial inclusion for women is a core and cross-cutting theme for Karandaaz Pakistan,” said Ali Sarfraz, CEO Karandaaz Pakistan, in his opening remarks. “If we have to make any tangible progress on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, Pakistan needs to actimmediatelyto ensure women’s participation in the process of development. One way to do that is to improve women’s access to financial services.”

Guest speaker, Anna Gincherman, Chief Product Development OfficerWWBapprised the participants about a number of successful and effective financial products that work for the financial inclusion of women around the world. AlexBlau,Senior Associate ideas42,spoke about the integration of design thinking into digital financial products and services for women.

Dr Louise Walker, Group Head Economic Growth, of DFID-Pakistan in her closing remarks said: “It is the need of the hour that women receive equal opportunities as they have a key role to play in the development and progress of any society. The financial exclusion of women is a serious impediment in any country’s progress and DFID has been working with partners in Pakistan to overcome this barrier. I appreciate Karandaaz Pakistan for organizing this workshop and promoting awareness onthe need for financial products and services for women. I hope these initiatives will spur a positive change in Pakistan’s financial landscape.”

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