'Women's economic empowerment to end poverty in Pakistan'

“The digital financial services in Pakistan like FINJA should support housewives and other women in Pakistan to set up small home-based industries and businesses,” said Queen Maxima while talking to small merchants during her visit to Ghalib Market in Gulberg.

UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA) Queen Máxima met directly with the shopkeepers who benefited from FINJA, a Pakistani financial technology company, to learn more about how its digital financial services solutions could support financial inclusion.

She spoke about the importance of technology to bring diverse financial services to the excluded.

The Queen was really inspired by the success story of Muhammad Abid Islam who ran small general store in Ghalib Market. Abid told the Queen that he had been suffering from huge financial losses when he benefitted from a unique collaboration between a multinational company and a financial technology company which digitized his supply chain, credit, payments and financing services.

Queen Máxima also met with a 48-year-old housewife/beautician, Sofia Bibi, who came from very low-income family with limited education. “I am very happy,” Queen Máxima was heard telling that “when you invest in a woman, you invest in the whole family.”

Sofia told the Queen that how she benefited from an application, GharPar. She shared her experience receiving her earnings on a mobile wallet and how it gave her control over her money.

The visit to Ghalib Market was part of the Queen Máxima’s three-day trip to Pakistan to support efforts to enhance access to and responsible usage of financial services that improve people’s financial and economic lives.

Briefing the Queen, Umer Munawwar said “SMEs were the backbone of any growing economy, yet their access to credit remains dismal. “Digital financial services like FINJA serve the unbanked and under-banked helping them win, compete and grow through cheaper, quicker and efficient lending solutions,” he concluded.

Upon her arrival here, she visited Bykea, a Pakistani company providing mobile application based services for transportation, logistics and cash on delivery payments.

Queen Maxima interacted with a group of Bykea users and appreciated the success stories, profiling and approaches to the concept. The group members apprised the honourable guest Queen Maxima about their experiences, expertise and financial inclusion with the Bykea.

Earlier, Bykea CEO Muneeb Maayr and employees accorded a warm welcome to the Queen on her arrival and briefed about the vision, performance, evaluation criteria and social impacts of the company. The Bykea employees and clients clicked a group picture with the Queen on the occasion.

Separately, the Queen visited Teez Financial Services, a financial technology (Fintech) startup, which was an instant small amount loan provider for short term through its mobile application to its subscribers.

Moreover, the next thing on the itinary of Queen Maxima was GharPar, a mobile app and web based solution providing women with high quality, hygienic, and timely at-home beauty services. The Queen was briefed about functioning, products and services of the company. The Queen also met with the trainee girls at the facility and inquired about their learning experiences.