Easypaisa — a joint initiative of Telenor Pakistan and Tameer Micro Finance Bank — has secured a USD6.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to increase adoption of its mobile financial services among Pakistan’s poorest households and to strengthen its distribution network in poor and rural communities.
To announce the grant, a press conference was held at Telenor Pakistan’s head office. In his opening remarks, Roar Bjaerum, Vice President of Financial Services at Telenor Pakistan, said that accessible mobile financial services can help catalyze Pakistan’s socio-economic efforts. “Financial exclusion of the lower income population is a systemic challenge in Pakistan. With more than 85% of population not having access to formal savings or credit products, many households are vulnerable to fluctuations in daily income and unable to absorb economic shocks from unexpected events. Easypaisa’s vision is to serve as a vehicle for financial inclusion for such households. The grant will help us accelerate adoption of Easypaisa services among poor and unbanked individuals,” he said.
Rodger Voorhies, Director of the Gates Foundation’s Financial Services for the Poor initiative, in a message said that the aim of the project was to expand the range of services poor Pakistanis can access through Easypaisa: “While Easypaisa has seen rapid adoption of its payment and remittance services, adoption of mobile financial services, like savings and insurance, has been slower,” Voorhies said. “This grant aims to accelerate adoption of Easypaisa’s Mobile Account among poor and unbanked households to create a foundation for the delivery of savings, insurance, and other mobile financial services.”
Telenor Pakistan’s Roar Bjaerum also spoke about Easypaisa services and the socio-economic impact and future of mobile financial services in Pakistan.