Pakistan Wins Global Laurels for Financial Inclusion

Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) has won the prestigious CIS Islamic Banking and Finance award for being the best contributor to the Islamic Finance Industry in a ceremony held recently in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

PPAF was selected for successfully implementing the Interest-Free Loan Program across Pakistan. The CIS Islamic Banking and Finance Awards is a signature initiative of AlHuda CIBE aimed to recognize the industry leaders and to promote the concept of sustainable economy.

The Awards were presented in 15 categories to international Islamic microfinance institutions, takaful and leasing companies, banks, and individuals for their outstanding services to the Islamic Microfinance Industry.

PPAF’s Interest-Free Loan Program was selected for its extensive outreach and its unique feature of catering to the financial needs of the poor and marginalized communities across Pakistan with women being the major clients.  The design of the loan program offers acceptability under Islamic Microfinance in areas where religious sentiments are high and conventional microfinance is not welcomed.

The loans besides being interest-free do not carry any additional charge/ fee i.e. documentation, processing, voluntary, insurance, etc. As part of the program, trainings are organized for the loan recipients for optimum utilization of loans for expansion of their businesses. The Interest-Free Loan (IFL) Programme of PPAF is part of Government of Pakistan’s program “Ehsaas”, a flagship initiative for poverty alleviation working under the ambit of ‘Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division’.

While receiving the Award, Mr. Farid Sabir, General Manager, Interest-Free Loan Program, PPAF shared that as of April 2019, PPAF has provided 524,470 Interest-Free Loans to the needful, 67% being women clients. He said that PPAF is implementing the IFL through its 26 partner organizations in 442 Union Councils of 45 districts of Pakistan as such an amount of Rs. 12.9 billion has been disbursed with the average loan size of Rs. 24, 596.

The Program has benefitted more than half a million directly while 3 million people are benefited indirectly from IFL program. He also said that the Interest-Free Loan Program is a tool of financial inclusion and poverty alleviation for the poor and is an integral part of the graduation approach of PPAF.

Financial inclusion, fintech, sukuk, takaful, Islamic capital markets, Islamic microfinance, potential and opportunities of Islamic finance in CIS countries were also discussed by the forum.

The forum was organized by the Al-Huda Centre of Islamic Banking and Economics (UAE) in partnership with Islamic Corporation for Development of Private Sector (ICD), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and Uzbekistan Bank Association.

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