US based Bill & Milinda Gates Foundation has sanctioned a grant $ 6.5 million for Easypaisa, a joint initiative of Telenor Pakistan and Tameer Micro Finance Bank to increase adoption of its mobile financial services among Pakistan’s poorest households and to strengthen its distribution network in poor and rural communities.
Disclosing the details of the grant at a press conference held at Telenor Pakistan’s head office, 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, Roar said adding that more than 85% of population has no 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, he asserted. 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.