Before initiating my work as a consultant and a trainer, I worked as the Chief Financial Officer of one of the growing microfinance banks in the country. I was part of the team to launch the Digital Financial Services (DFS) product including mobile wallets and over the counter payments called ‘UPaisa’ at 5,000 outlets in 2013. The product was made available to approximately 35,000 retail shops enabling people to send and receive money through mobile wallet or over the counter and pay their utility bills. The bank won an international award for fastest deployment of the digital financial service.
Professionally a chartered accountant turned trainer and consultant with Finman Group, I was inquisitive to learn about the DFS and international best practices to deliver in the country in which the MFIs and MFBs are embracing Fintechs to quickly reach the masses. Hence, when I learnt about the certification on digital finance at Frankfurt School, I realized it was a good opportunity to enhance my professional development and use in my professional work and interactions. The contents of the course are interesting and engaging particularly the contents on digital products beyond payments, savings, credit and insurance of new technologies. With case studies, I learnt about the way things are taking shape in different countries. This certainly helps to expand my level of thinking.
Learning best practices online at Frankfurt School
My background of finance and accounts from PricewaterhouseCoopers and subsequent experience with the micro finance banks in the country motivated me to learn more about the changing trends in the micro finance sector globally.
We have worked with MFIs to develop various DFS strategies such as: advising MFIs on reducing costs, reaching more clients, working for improving financial inclusion and financial literacy through innovative solution and adopting technological solutions. Further, being a trainer, it is helpful to interact with global players through the course offered by the Frankfurt School. We organized the first micro finance sector boot camp in the country which was widely appreciated by the micro finance sector executives as a key learning experience towards professional growth.
Pakistan moving ahead with Digital Financial Inclusion
In Pakistan, the recent acquisition 45% shares in Telenor Bank by Alipay is a clear signal that DFS is bound to grow in the coming years. Three leading cellular companies have their own micro finance banks offering DFS to a vast majority of people. This is an exciting time to explore the territory which will impact lives, change the way people do business and facilitate the process of financial inclusion in the country.
The certification in digital finance is certainly a step in the direction of continuous learning from the international experts in the field and I expect that it will be helpful in my professional endeavors.