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FMO supporting micro-entrepreneurs in Pakistan

December 1, 2017

FMO supports women micro-entrepreneurs in Pakistan through funding the Kashf Foundation.

Kashf is one of the oldest and largest microfinance institution in Pakistan created with the aim to alleviate poverty by providing affordable financial and non-financial services to low income households, especially women. The US$ 5 million loan comes from MASSIF, the financial inclusion fund FMO manages on behalf of the Dutch government.

Kashf Foundation is a Pakistani microfinance institution established in 1996 targeting women micro-entrepreneurs to get access to finance. Kashf aims to bridge the financing gap for women by contributing both on the supply and the demand side of financing women owned micro enterprises with a model that goes beyond financing. Kashf provides microcredit, insurance, business development services and social advocacy interventions aimed at creating awareness about gender discrimination and social issues at the community level. Based out of Lahore, Kashf is operating with a network of 290 branches in three provinces of Pakistan reaching out to 340,000 clients.

World Bank estimates that Pakistan hosts 5.2% of the world’s unbanked population with only 23% of adults using formal financial services while for women that is less than 5%. Aligned with our aim to contribute to local prosperity, FMO’s funding will be used to provide micro loans to women with limited or no access to capital in the (semi) urban areas in Pakistan.  In addition, FMO's long term financing will enhance the balance sheet of the institution through diversified and stable funding.

Ms. Roshaneh Zafar, Managing Director of Kashf Foundation: “It is a wonderful opportunity to work with a like-minded investor like FMO to promote the economic livelihoods of women in Pakistan. This is important as women's economic empowerment involves establishing long term partnerships and creating value that goes beyond the loan transaction. Undoubtedly together FMO and Kashf will create significant opportunities for women micro entrepreneurs.”

Ms. Angelica Ortiz de Haas, Manager Financial Institutions of FMO commented: “We are very proud to work with Kashf.  It has positioned itself in a unique manner:  In addition to providing loans, it also has extensive financial education programs for women.  Kashf is a great example of how to contribute to greater gender equality through finance and education.”

The investment comes from the MASSIF Fund, which FMO manages on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. MASSIF provides much needed financial and non-financial resources to small businesses and micro-entrepreneurs by supporting local financial intermediaries and institutions that can contribute to their development. MASSIF invests in low income countries and fragile and conflict-affected states with special focus towards rural areas, women, youth and companies that are developing new innovative products and services for the so-called ‘Base of the Pyramid.

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