Dr Saqib was in London to speak at an event organised at the House of Lords, the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and also wanted to meet with the global professional body to discuss his organisation’s initiatives to promote literacy and micro finance in Pakistan, and around the world.
In Pakistan, micro finance is proving popular amongst the growing SME sector; SMEDA, the country’s SME development authority, calculates that nearly 90% of companies are SMEs, most of them operating in the informal sector, so the demand for micro finance is also growing.
Alan Hatfield said of the meeting: ‘It was fascinating to hear first-hand from Dr Saqib about the aims of Akhuwat, and about how it has grown over the years. Dr Saqib and his team are clearly passionate about the aims of the business, and of how micro finance can help SMEs grow and thrive in Pakistan. The micro-credit industry is proving popular in many countries around the world, offering innovative and accessible ways to fund SMEs. It is important for ACCA accountants to understand how the micro finance model works, as the first point of advice for many SMEs is the professionally qualified accountant.’
Dr Saqib added: ‘Since 2001, Akhuwat has opened over 850 branches in 486 cities/towns across Pakistan, enabling over 3.5 Million families to become self-reliant by extending interest-free loans worth more than £400 million. Now, through Akhuwat University, we will be providing higher education without any tuition fee to support the upward social mobility in the country. ACCA and Akhuwat share the same values and we will continue working together to promote financial inclusion and access to world-class education in Pakistan. We need to rise together and make concerted efforts to reduce poverty and make this world a happy place to live in.”
Akhuwat was set up in 2001 and provides interest free loans to the economically poor so that they may acquire a sustainable livelihood.