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ISLAMABAD: Murtaza Ali, Head of JazzCash, spoke at the Dubai Fintech Summit, highlighting that fintech platforms are making remittances more affordable, reliable, and remotely accessible, representing a critical lifeline for millions of Pakistani households.

The summit hosted over 300 speakers from top global institutions, fostering discussions on innovation, inclusion, and impact within the FinTech landscape.

In addition to cost reduction, fintech promotes financial inclusion. "Detached from traditional limitations like bank branches and agent networks, digital remittances can reach even remote, low-income households, empowering them to participate in the formal financial system," explained Murtaza.

Last month alone, Pakistan received over US$2.8 billion in workers' remittances, with more than half a billion dollars coming from the UAE. Recognising this vital economic lifeline, JazzCash recently partnered with du Pay to simplify money transfers from the UAE directly to Pakistan. This innovative collaboration, powered by Western Union, allows Pakistani nationals to send money directly to JazzCash mobile wallets.

Boasting a massive network of over 245,000 registered agents and more than 333,000 registered merchants, JazzCash dominates Pakistan's fintech landscape. This extensive reach allows JazzCash to digitize over PKR 100 billion every month, serving a customer base of 44 million. JazzCash is not just about payments – it has also been a major source of financial inclusion, having facilitated over 8 million digital loans in the first quarter of this year alone.

Highlighting JazzCash’s gender-intentional approach, Murtaza revealed that women constitute 30 per cent of JazzCash customers, 17 per cent of lending users, 23,000 merchants, and 6,000 agents. “These encouraging numbers reflect the company’s ongoing commitment to enhancing female participation in its services,” he stressed.

Murtaza also commended the collaborative approach of the State Bank of Pakistan, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, highlighting their efforts in balancing innovation and consumer protection, thereby propelling digital and financial inclusion across the nation.

Looking ahead, JazzCash will focus on interoperability, tokenization, and B2B solutions over the next five years. “With a large unbanked population and a cash-dependent SME sector, we anticipate exponential growth. Our roadmap involves leveraging data for risk assessment, venturing into Insurtech, and further integrating financial services into everyday transactions.

In his concluding remarks, Murtaza discussed the expanding array of digital capabilities and services offered by VEON, the parent company of Jazz and Mobilink Microfinance Bank Limited, aimed at accelerating digital and financial inclusion across its markets.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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