The country’s leading promoter of financial inclusion, Karandaaz Pakistan has signed agreements worth PKR 148 Million with three prominent players in the international remittance market under the DFID-funded Innovation Challenge Fund.
Karandaaz Pakistan launched the first round of the Innovation Challenge Fund (ICF) in September 2016. The ICF is funded by UK Department for International Development (UKAid). Market players were invited to propose innovative solutions for improving the current international remittance products and services for overseas Pakistanis who send about $19.9 B into Pakistan.
Following a rigorous selection process, Karandaaz has signed agreements with three finalists: Telenor Microfinance Bank (previously Tameer Microfinance Bank), Samba Bank & Global Financial Systems (consortium), and Bank Alfalah & Paysys Labs (consortium). The proposed initiatives will receive funding of up to PKR 148 Million. The projects are expected to enable overseas Pakistanis to send money more conveniently and at lower cost and will give implementers an opportunity to enhance financial inclusion by promotion of mobile wallets, bank accounts and other financial services.
Speaking at the occasion, CEO Karandaaz Mr. Ali Sarfraz explained that Karandaaz was implementing the DFID-funded Innovation Challenge Fund using a theme based approach where each round has a specific theme linked to a complex challenge. He commended the signatories of ICF Round 1 and appreciated their initiatives to introduce new services in an important market segment.
The second round of ICF will launch in May 2017 and will focus on a priority area for Karandaaz Pakistan and DFID, by supporting improved access to technical and financial support for Pakistani women entrepreneurs. In ICF Round 2 Karandaaz will invite applications from incubators, accelerators or similar organizations to propose an innovative mentoring program that caters specifically to female entrepreneurs.