FinTech, banks get Rs148m to innovate tech ideas for remittances

Overseas Pakistanis will be able to send money conveniently, at lower cost

Our Correspondent May 11, 2017

KARACHI: Pakistan’s FinTech and conventional banks have won funding of up to Rs148 million as they look to innovate tech solutions for remittances, according to a statement released on Wednesday.

Karandaaz Pakistan, which promotes access to finance from leading UK institutions, signed agreements with three finalists: Telenor Microfinance Bank (previously Tameer Microfinance Bank), Samba Bank & Global Financial Systems (consortium), and Bank Alfalah & Paysys Labs (consortium), for the purpose.

“Following a rigorous selection process, Karandaaz has signed agreements with three finalists … the proposed initiatives will receive funding of up to Rs148 million,” the statement said.

The projects are expected to enable overseas Pakistanis to send money more conveniently at a lower cost and will give implementers an opportunity to enhance financial inclusion by promotion of mobile wallets, bank accounts and other financial services, it said.

Overseas Pakistanis sent $19.9 billion remittances in the last fiscal year ended June 30, 2016. The country is estimated to receive a similar amount of remittances in the current fiscal year as well.

The UK-backed Pakistani firm had invited applications for the purpose in September 2016 under the theme of the Innovation Challenge Fund (ICF), which is funded by the UK Department for International Development (UKAid).

Karandaaz CEO Ali Sarfraz said in the statement that the firm was providing funding using a theme-based approach where each round has a specific theme linked to a complex challenge. The second round of ICF funding would be launched later this month for improved technical and financial support to Pakistani women entrepreneurs.

Karandaaz will invite applications from incubators, accelerators or similar organisations to propose an innovative mentoring programme that caters specifically to female entrepreneurs, it said.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2017.

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