VEON’s Mobilink Bank Becomes First Microfinance Bank Globally to Join the GSMA Connected Women Commitment Initiative
VEON Ltd. (NASDAQ: VEON, Euronext Amsterdam: VEON), a global digital operator that provides converged connectivity and online services, today announces that Mobilink Microfinance Bank Ltd. (MMBL), its banking operation in Pakistan, has signed up to the GSMA’s Connected Women Commitment Initiative, becoming the first microfinance bank, globally, to do so.
The GSMA Connected Women Commitment Initiative was set up in 2016 to accelerate digital and financial inclusion for women across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Since the inception of the Commitment Initiative, over 40 mobile operators have made formal commitments and have collectively reached over 55 million additional women with mobile internet and mobile money services.
MMBL will leverage its extensive operations across Pakistan, with more than 16 million monthly active customers across Pakistan, 100+ branches, and over 200,000 branchless banking agents, to further the aim of the GSMA’s Connected Women Commitment Initiative by encouraging the adoption of digital technology amongst women, to foster their financial inclusion.
It will run various programs to deliver tailored offerings to increase the percentage of female customers and reach more and more women across Pakistan with digital financial services. The Bank aims to increase the proportion of female customer base by 15%, adding 600,000 customers by 2025.
“Female microentrepreneurs are key to Pakistan’s successful future and the GSMA is rightly focusing on them,” states Kaan Terzioglu, CEO of VEON Group. “The adoption of mobile technology and the use of digital operator services has the power to transform entire sectors of society and bring prosperity to millions. Through its existing strong relationships with women across Pakistan, and its close relationship with Jazz Pakistan- our telco arm, MMBL is perfectly positioned to deliver on the ambitions of the GSMA’s Connected Women Commitment Initiative.”
MMBL joins several mobile operators from around the world who have committed to reducing the gender gap in the customer base of their mobile internet or mobile money services. This commitment also builds on VEON’s strong track record on diversity in the country; Jazz Pakistan, was recently announced as the best Gender Inclusive Workplace in the UN Women Asia Pacific WEP Awards and received seven awards at the Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Benchmark Awards.
“MMBL operates in most of the rural and urban regions across Pakistan to foster financial inclusivity and bring economic empowerment to people. Our partnerships extend that mandate to include digital inclusion and we see connectivity as being on par with access to finance, as a key driver of economic progress,” explains Sardar Mohammad Abubakr, Chief Operating Officer of MMBL. “Empowering female customers/entrepreneurs is on top of our mantra, as including this significantly impactful segment will ensure sustainable growth for all and we continue to further this ambition of ours through this commitment with GSMA.”
VEON is a NASDAQ and Euronext Amsterdam-listed global provider of connectivity and digital services. Our companies are transforming lifestyles through technology-driven services that empower opportunity in some of the world’s fastest-growing emerging markets. For more information, visit: https://www.veon.com
About Mobilink Microfinance Bank Ltd.
Mobilink Microfinance Bank Ltd. is providing banking services to over 42 million registered users including 16+ million monthly active customers across Pakistan. 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.
The GSMA is a global organisation unifying the mobile ecosystem to discover, develop and deliver innovation foundational to positive business environments and societal change. Our vision is to unlock the full power of connectivity so that people, industry, and society thrive. Representing mobile operators and organisations across the mobile ecosystem and adjacent industries, the GSMA delivers for its members across three broad pillars: Connectivity for Good, Industry Services and Solutions, and Outreach. This activity includes advancing policy, tackling today’s biggest societal challenges, underpinning the technology and interoperability that make mobile work, and providing the world’s largest platform to convene the mobile ecosystem at the MWC and M360 series of events.
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Further information on the Connected Women Commitment Initiative can be found at: https://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/connected-women/the-commitment/