Islamabad: Mobilink Microfinance Bank Limited, VEON’s financial services arm and the largest digital bank in Pakistan, launched three major microfinance initiatives as part of its continuing efforts to financially empower women entrepreneurs and to support small and medium-sized farmers in the country. The initiatives were formally launched by VEON Group CEO, Kaan Terzioglu, during his recent visit to Pakistan.
As part of the first initiative, Mobilink Microfinance Bank (MMBL) has launched low-cost 4G handsets for customers, especially female entrepreneurs, aimed at driving participation in the digital economy among marginalized groups within the population. The substantially discounted Digit 4G handsets will be available across Mobilink Microfinance Bank’s vast branch network and will come pre-loaded with the bank’s digital banking application, MMBL DOST, that will enable customers to obtain quick financial assistance, pay bills, make money transfers and use a vast array of digital banking services. Going forward, Mobilink Microfinance Bank will be offering these subsidized 4G handsets as part of its loan portfolio.
Under the second initiative, Mobilink Microfinance Bank has collaborated with Daraz, Pakistan’s largest e-commerce platform, to help incentivise and upskill female entrepreneurs with brick-and-mortar stores to go digital and expand their customer outreach across the country. Under the partnership, female customers will be charged 0% commission for the first three months of their onboarding, giving them ample time to set up their businesses on the digital platform. Moreover, female sellers using Daraz will be able to open accounts digitally and apply for Mobilink Microfinance Bank loans at concessional rates.
Although females comprise almost half of the country’s population, their financial inclusion figure stands at 7%. With a growing 3G/4G subscriber base in the country that currently represents 53% of the total 195 million cellular subscribers, Mobilink Microfinance Bank, under its flagship Women Inspirational Network (WIN) programme, aims to support an enabling digital financial ecosystem for empowering women, an underserved, yet influential segment of the country through such initiatives.
“As a digital operator, VEON is focused on providing high-quality connectivity while building a digital services ecosystem to meet customers’ needs and transform their lives. These initiatives will accelerate financial inclusion in Pakistan, drive economic growth, and play an important role in the digitalisation of the local microfinance industry,” states Kaan Terzioglu, VEON Group CEO at the launch.
The third initiative sees Mobilink Microfinance Bank provide digital agriculture advisory services for farmers, delivered through a partnership with Pakistan’s leading AgriTech company BaKhabar Kissan. Along with financial assistance from the bank, farmers will also have access to personalized instructions for planting profitable crops, monitoring weather and land conditions, tips for effective livestock management, and tracking key agriculture and environment-related indicators to boost income and agricultural produce. Agriculture represents 22.7% of Pakistan’s GDP and employs around 37.4% of the workforce. The recent floods in the country have destroyed 3.6 million acres of crops and caused a loss of 700,000 livestock. Long-term support for this sector is therefore vital in helping Pakistan’s economic recovery.
Adding his views on these developments, Ghazanfar Azzam, President & CEO of Mobilink Microfinance Bank said: “For over 10 years, Mobilink Microfinance Bank has been playing a game-changing role in empowering marginalized and underserved communities in Pakistan. Through these initiatives, we are aiming to build a digital infrastructure that will help further the economic upliftment and financial empowerment of women business owners and small and medium-sized farmers in the country, two segments that have the potential to transform Pakistan’s economic future”
VEON Group CEO previously met senior representatives of the government including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Minister for IT and Telecommunication, Syed Amin Ul Haque, and Minister for Finance, Miftah Ismail.
About Mobilink Microfinance Bank
Mobilink Microfinance Bank Ltd. is Pakistan’s largest digital bank with over 40 million registered users including 16+ million monthly active mobile users. With a hybrid model that combines traditional microfinance with mobile/digital banking technologies, the bank now operates with over 100 branches and 200,000 branchless banking agents, and provides a USSD (GSM) based digital channel offering savings, micro enterprise (MSME) loans, small housing loans, remittances, collection (utility bills and loan installments), mobile wallets, insurance, G2P, B2B & B2P payments; thus, playing a leading role in the promotion of financial inclusion.
For more information visit: www.mobilinkbank.com
VEON is a digital operator that provides converged connectivity and digital services to over 200 million customers. Operating across seven countries that are home to more than 8% of the world’s population, VEON is transforming lives through technology-driven services that empower individuals and drive economic growth. Headquartered in Amsterdam, VEON is listed on NASDAQ and Euronext.
For more information, visit: https://www.veon.com
This release contains “forward-looking statements,” as the phrase is defined in Section 27A of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements are not historical facts, and include statements relating to, among other things, VEON’s activities in Pakistan. Forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, many of which VEON cannot predict with accuracy and some of which VEON might not even anticipate. The forward-looking statements contained in this release speak only as of the date of this release. VEON does not undertake to publicly update, except as required by U.S. federal securities laws, any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after such dates or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
 Pakistan Economic Survey 2020-21 https://www.finance.gov.pk/survey/chapters_21/02-Agriculture.pdf