Financial inclusion is a key area of focus for the AKDN. The Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM), which manages several microfinance institutions across Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa, launched an initiative in 2016 to improve access to basic financial services for unbanked and underbanked communities through Digital Financial Services (DFS).
Karim Jindani (from Pakistan) is a DFS consultant and practitioner. His experience in the sector, acquired over several years working with global and regional institutions, was valuable to AKAM in supporting its DFS-related initiatives. His initial engagement with AKAM in April 2016 was to review and help finalize the DFS risk management framework. Since then, Karim has been engaged with AKAM on various initiatives in several countries and in educating AKAM institutions regarding DFS risks, as they embark on new initiatives.
In November 2016, Karim was a speaker at the AKAM annual Audit, Risk and Compliance (ARC) workshop in Dubai. This was followed by an onsite workshop he conducted for Première Agence de MicroFinance (PAMF) Madagascar in July 2017. The workshop provided input to PAMF’s cross functional team on how to effectively implement the technological aspects of their digital credit project, which was in the planning phase.
AKAM subsequently invited Karim to deliver a presentation on managing technology risk in DFS projects at a Geneva workshop in October 2017, which was attended by CEOs and DFS Project Managers from AKAM field institutions. The session provided an excellent opportunity for senior management to learn from a subject matter expert and exchange ideas about upcoming projects.
Karim then went to Bamako (Mali) in November 2017 to assist the West Africa regional team in the review of IT infrastructure and processes related to their Digital Credit project. These in-depth review sessions were valuable in identifying key risk areas and defining strategies for managing risks related to IT, finance and strategy.
In December 2017, he was invited to deliver sessions on DFS risk at the annual AKAM ARC workshop in Islamabad, which was attended by participants from several countries. The workshop provided them with insights on planning and remodelling business functions for digital finance initiatives.
When describing his TKN experience with AKAM, Karim says, “I find that TKN is an excellent platform through which volunteers can meaningfully contribute their professional expertise and knowledge in institutional capacity building. This opportunity to contribute to the social objectives of AKDN institutions is a truly fulfilling and humbling experience.”
Saleem Daredia, AKAM’s Director of Audit and Risk Management and Karim’s TKN assignment manager, states, “AKAM is very grateful to Karim for his excellent work in helping to enhance DFS accessibility to its clients, with a particular focus on benefitting under-privileged communities while balancing this with robust risk management and client protection. Our institution benefitted from significant cost savings because of Karim’s expertise and dedicated TKN service, which included on-site training, gap analyses, course correction and assessment of the technical capabilities of potential vendors. AKAM looks forward to continue working with highly committed TKN volunteers who are cutting-edge professionals and industry experts, including Karim, to achieve its goals.”