|| Citi-PPAF Microentrepreneurship Awards Program Launched
Demonstrating Commitment to Microfinance third year in a row
People all over the world have similar aspirations – to take care of their families, to feed, clothe and shelter them, and to provide their children with opportunities to succeed. In Pakistan, where most people live on less that US$2 / day, such basic aspirations were far fetched until recently. With an enhanced focus on poverty alleviation by the Government and an increasing realization of microfinance’s viability as a tool in achieving this, more and more of Pakistan’s poor have successfully fulfilled some of their dreams of a better future. It is the achievements of these micro-entrepreneurs that Citi Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Citibank, seeks to celebrate in collaboration with the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF).
Launched in Islamabad through a media conference, the ‘Citi-PPAF Micro-entrepreneurship Awards Program 2007’ will recognize and reward leadership, entrepreneurial skills and best practices of individual microentrepreneurs on a national and provincial basis. Attended by PPAF and Citi Pakistan’s top Management, the launch included a presentation on the overall growth and development of the microfinance sector in Pakistan as well as the scope and objectives of the Awards program. Three winners from the 2006 program were invited to share their experiences pre and post availing microfinance services.
Made possible through a PKR 3.3 Million grant, the awards program aims to highlight award-winning micro-entrepreneurs and in doing so create awareness on the effectiveness and significance of microfinance as a tool in the fight against poverty. A National Advisory Council comprising of well-placed and professional members has been formed to oversee the program and interview finalists in the final judging round a day prior to the ceremony. In the interest of transparency all applications collected from MFI’s will be screened by the Social Enterprise Development Centre at LUMS before being passed on to members of the advisory for final interviews.
The Advisory panel includes media stalwart Arshad Zuberi, Aazar Bhandara Economic Growth Advisor US Aid, Syed Mubasher Ali Programme Director Social Enterprise Development Centre, LUMS, Babar Aziz, Deputy Director Finance & Operations, International Rescue Committee, M.R. Khan Financial Management Consultant, Faryal Gauhar, media personality/ ex-UN Goodwill Ambassador, Greg Chen Chief of Party Shorebank, Yasmin Lari noted conservationist and President Heritage Foundation and Ayesha Muzaffar senior financial analyst IFC
The awards will be presented in the following categories: ‘Best National Micro entrepreneur Male’, ‘Best National Micro Entrepreneur Female’, and ‘4 Best Provincial Microentrepreneurs’ with one runner up for each category. Special recognition awards will also be given to Loan officers and representatives of Micro Finance Institutions. The awards ceremony is scheduled for October 2007 in Islamabad.
Speaking at the launch CEO PPAF Kamal Hyat said ‘we have come a long way but in a country with a population of 160 million, we need to focus on maximizing outreach. A very essential part of that is awareness and this awards program will go a long way in creating interest amongst MFIs and their clients. We laud Citi Foundation’s efforts in this regard”
Citi Country Officer and Managing Director Zubyr Soomro said ‘Citi Pakistan has been very active in the promotion of ‘soft’ initiatives aimed at expanding the microfinance sector. Earlier this year we organized a training of trainers program titled ‘financial education for the poor’ in liaison with international NGOs ‘Microfinance Opportunities’ and ‘Freedom from Hunger’ besides awarding PKR 4.2 Million in grant money to Kashf Foundation and Tameer Foundation Trust. We also arranged the first commercial funding transaction for Kashf Foundation, paving the way for MFI’s to access commercial funds in future. Our commitment to microfinance is part of our effort to develop the community we are a part of’.
Citi Foundation's grants are awarded primarily in three areas: Financial Education, Educating the Next Generation, and Building Communities and Entrepreneurs.
The Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) represents an innovative model of public private partnership. Sponsored by the Government of Pakistan and funded by the World Bank and other leading donors the PPAF has a resource base of over US$ 633.17 million.
Citi, the leading global financial services company, has some 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Citi’s major brand names include Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Citi Smith Barney and Banamex. Additional information may be found at www.Citi.com or www.citi.com.
Certain statements in this document are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. These statements are based on management’s current expectations and are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances. Actual results may differ materially from those included in these statements due to a variety of factors. More information about these factors is contained in Citi’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
For further information, kindly contact:
Aine I. Shah
Public Affairs Officer
Citi, AWT Plaza, I. I. Chundrigar Road
Direct: ++9221 2213627
Fax: ++9221 263-8211
Ramesh Singh Arora
Senior Management Executive
Human & Institutional Development Unit
Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund
Islamabad , Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-2652276, 2652410