ITU Fintech Centre inks agreement with Karandaaz Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD: Information Technology University (ITU) of Punjab and Karandaaz Pakistan entered into an agreement to initiate three research projects through the Fintech Centre established at ITU.

The three specific academic pieces of research undertaken by this FinTech Centre will improve the existing knowledge on women’s use of digital financial services and the barriers they face.

The research centre will help to develop a deeper understanding of the challenges in financial inclusion and exploring the potential of data science and Information Communication Technologies as a viable solution.

The signing ceremony held in Islamabad on Tuesday was also witnessed by a delegation of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), which provides funding support to Karandaaz to promote financial inclusion of individuals through digital technologies.

The researches shall be conducted in Pakistan with technical collaboration between Digital Financial Services Research Group of the University of Washington and ITU faculty.

One of the research will focus on the viability of a mobile app to form a rotating savings and credit association of women that will help them save and borrow collectively. Another research will help in designing a digital financial system for business and personal use of micro entrepreneur women. The third research will focus on digital solutions to safeguard women against SMS frauds in Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, ITU Vice-Chancellor Dr Umar Saif said that, “Joining hands with international development partners Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Karandaz for innovation and research in financial technology space is a welcome step. This collaboration will help Pakistan to reform the digital financial services especially with the inclusion of women.”

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Financial Services for the Poor Deputy Director Jason Lamb said, “We believe more knowledge and research will help trigger greater financial inclusion of women through technology in Pakistan. It is heartening to see academicians stepping up to work closely with the industry in solving such issues.

Karandaaz Pakistan CEO Ali Sarfraz also emphasised the role of digitisation in providing access to financial services to women.

Karandaaz Pakistan is supporting small and medium entrepreneurs, increasing access to finance for unbanked populations by leveraging digital technologies, developing and disseminating evidence-based insights, and encouraging innovation in financial space with funding support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).