December 10, 2012

6TH Microfinance Forum commits financial inclusion and poverty alleviation

 Karachi: 5th December, 2012 – Striving to expand the outreach of financial services and enterprise-acumen at the grass roots level, the 6th Microfinance Country Forum concluded successfully today at the Marriot Hotel, Karachi, conducted by Shamrock Conferences International, in collaboration with Tameer Microfinance Bank and Mazars Asia-Singapore.

Deputy Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Mr. Kazi Abdul Muktadir, in his inaugural speech, said; “Reducing financial exclusion is the greatest priority of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).The microfinance specialists should create a sustainable model, by offering robust Microfinance products, reducing costs and expanding outreach through deployment of cellular technology based financial channels. These Innovations make financial services more affordable and accessible for the masses”.

Mr. Nadeem Hussain President & CEO of Tameer Microfinance Bank delivered a rousing keynote address, saying; “There is a misconception in the financial markets, that a low income population is not credit-worthy. The truth is that these small scale diligent entrepreneurs have proven to be prudent, as they ensure the lowest default ratios”. Mr. Hussain added; that Pakistan has a comprehensive regulatory framework in place for rapid Microfinance development. The advantages of Telecom and branchless banking are creating numerous livelihood opportunities at the bottom of the economic pyramid. 

He added, “Financial Exclusion is a major cause of Poverty in developing countries. Pakistan has created the enabling blocks to tackle this problem and become the first country to meet the poverty challenge in Asia.”

The high profiled moot featured case-studies and deliberations, on the theme; “Re Strategizing the Business Model - A New Face to Microfinance in Pakistan”. Participants also discussed the great potential and reach of technology in the current wave of branchless financial services being offered by cellular companies, commercial banks and dynamic microfinance banks. The Islamic mode of microfinance and group lending in the rural segments was also debated at large, with inputs coming from a number of participants.

The speakers and chairpersons at the forum, included;; Dr. Abdul Wahab, President of M.A. Jinnah University; Mr. Ateeq ur Rehman, KCCI Analyst; Mr. Mohsin Ahmed, CEO of Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN);  Mr. Qazi Shoaib Ahmed, Senior Joint Director State Bank of Pakistan (SBP);  Mr. Ghazanfar Azzam, CEO Waseela Microfinance Bank; Mr. Roar Bjaerum, Chief Financial Services Officer Telenor; and Mr. Faisal Shaikh Product Head of Bank Islami. 

An enlightening Panel Discussion on ‘Bringing Users at the Center of Microfinance: Educating the Stake Holders’ brought the forum to a close. The session was chaired by Mr. Haroon Agar, President Karachi Chamber of Commerce (KCCI); and the panelists included, Mr. Faizan Mustafa, Technology expert from Mazars Asia-Singapore; Mr. Anwar Rashid, Executive Director, Orangi Pilot Project (OPP); Mr. Bilal Mustafa, Managing Director, The Bank of Khyber; and Ms. Aseya Qasim, Head, Microfinance, Orix Leasing

Earlier, Mr. Menin Rodrigues, President and CEO of SHAMROCK Communications Pvt. Ltd., remarked in his welcome address, “Over the past 6 years, this highly successful annual forum has attracted leading Microfinance banks, practitioners, regulators, government officials, NGOs, academia, media and delegates from prestigious financial institutions, while at the same time contributing towards the bigger picture”.


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