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ISLAMABAD: Mobilink Microfinance Bank Limited (MMBL) is collaborating with CARE International in Pakistan (CIP) for promoting financial inclusion across the nation through innovative digital financial solutions.

The collaboration is powered by CARE’s Ignite project, funded by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, enabling financial and technological access for entrepreneurs, especially females. The Ignite project is part of a global collaboration between CARE and the Center for Inclusive Growth, Mastercard’s social impact arm.

Romina Khurshid Alam, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister praised the collective efforts of both CARE International and MMBL towards fostering a synergistic approach to enhance the financial inclusion of women entrepreneurs in Pakistan. Moreover, she indicated that women’s economic empowerment is a key priority area for the government and encouraged the promotion of similar initiatives to reach the underbanked segments of the population, especially women.

She added that such projects continue to lend unwavering support for women’s long-term financial development and the nation’s economic growth.

Through this strategic partnership, MMBL and CARE aim to accelerate the financial inclusion of more than 12,000 entrepreneurs, especially females who have been running their businesses for at least two years and have employed a minimum of 2-10 staff members. Enhancing access to credit and subsidized loan products helps scale their operations considerably. In addition, the collaboration will also support the capacity building and mentoring of these budding entrepreneurs with a focus on the use of digital technologies. With the power of technology and telecommunication connectivity, female entrepreneurs attending the event were given mobile phones, to facilitate convenient and secure access to premium digital financial services and hybrid lending solutions to help scale their businesses.

Ghazanfar Azzam, President and CEO of MMBL said: “There are about 100 million unbanked people in Pakistan, and at least 82 percent of them are women. Women, in particular, lack access to formal digital financial services, making it difficult for them to participate in economic activity. MMBL, through this strategic partnership with CARE, is focused on training female entrepreneurs across the country to upskill their technical and professional skillsets, thereby reducing poverty and boosting prosperity by financially empowering them.”

Country Director of CARE International in Pakistan, Adil Sheraz said: “With women constituting nearly 50 percent of Pakistan’s population, gender equality in all its interventions is a key focus area for CARE. Through this collaboration with MMBL, we seek to facilitate the much-needed access to finance and capacity building for growth-oriented entrepreneurs, especially women. This collaboration with MMBL is part of CARE’s focus on synergistic efforts to enhance financial inclusion in the country, especially for women”.

Lisa Richman, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa Director for the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, said: “At Mastercard, we believe that financial inclusion is the path to a prosperous future for all. We are committed to supporting entrepreneurs in their digital transformation journey and through the Center for Inclusive Growth, we will continue to provide entrepreneurs, especially women, with the financial tools, training, know-how, resources, and technologies they need to connect with the digital economy to drive further growth and become more resilient.”

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