ASA Pakistan will use the funding to empower women micro-entrepreneurs, to create jobs and an income, and to enable them to prosper and provide support for their families. The investment comes from MASSIF, the financial inclusion fund FMO manages on behalf of the Dutch government.
FMO’s financing will enable ASA Pakistan to provide funding and financial education to about 50,000 women and their families. After some years of limited activities in Pakistan, the transaction with ASA marks FMO’s renewed entrance in a country with one of the lowest banking penetrations in the world: only 25% of population use some form of financial services, for women this is no more than 10%. The transaction advances financial inclusion and promotes financial literacy among women.
Based upon the experience and knowledge of ASA’s proven microfinance approach in Bangladesh, ASA Pakistan provides a low cost microfinance program, which includes loans and offers financial literacy that help their women clients to manage their money, instead of having the ‘hand-to-mouth- spending of their income as soon as it comes in. ASA Pakistan Ltd. is a 100% subsidiary of ASA International Holding established to implement the highly efficient ASA model of microfinance operations. In the trajectory to apply for a Microfinance Bank license, ASA Pakistan is strengthening its organization, systems and procedures.
Dirk Brouwer, Executive Director of ASA International: “We are very pleased with this first major transaction with FMO. Hopefully this will be the start of a fruitful relationship between ASA International and FMO for years the come.”
Ms Angelica Ortiz de Haas, Manager Financial Institutions of FMO commented: “FMO greatly welcomes the opportunity to work with ASA Pakistan. Through their large client base they reach out to vulnerable groups such as the rural poor and women-owned microbusinesses.”
FMO has made the Financial Institutions sector a priority to promote inclusive development by focusing on the Base of the Pyramid, rural outreach, and women-owned businesses with the aim to create or increase access to finance. Equality of economic opportunity for women and men is essential for sustainable growth and a key element for building local prosperity.