Tokyo, Japan, 21 March 2012 – The Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed an agreement today for the entry of JICA into the shareholding of the First Microfinance Bank (FMFB) in Pakistan, which is one of the largest microfinance banks in the country. This agreement will see JICA invest approximately US$ 2.23 million in new equity into the bank and become a 17.8% shareholder. JICA will also provide the bank with technical assistance to target new market segments and further develop its human resources. FMFB has also signed shareholding agreements with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Aga Khan Rural Support Program.
The agreement was signed in Tokyo by Mr. Akbar Pesnani, the Chairman of the Board of FMFB and representative of AKAM and Mr.Masakazu Ichikawa the Vice President of JICA, with Mr. Hedeaki Suzuki, Director of the Tokyo Office of the IFC bearing witness to the event.
This agreement is the first investment to be concluded between an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network and JICA since the signing of a global memorandum of understanding between AKDN and JICA on March 12, 2012. The memorandum of understanding commits the two agencies to work together towards sustainable development and equitable growth, particularly in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and neighbouring countries, as well as Eastern and Western Africa.
“AKAM is pleased to continue to deepen our relationship with JICA and hope that this will be the first of many constructive partnerships to be signed under the auspices of the newly agreed memorandum of understanding between JICA and the AKDN,” said Mr. Pesnani.
He also thanked JICA “for their understanding, support and commitment to assist the people of Pakistan, especially the poor section of the society whom FMFB is targeting,” and stated that “with the enhanced capital and technical assistance from JICA, FMFB would be able to further extend its activities and reach out to more customers.”
“It is after more than 10 years that JICA has undertaken a private sector investment in Pakistan, and we are very happy and pleased that we are able to do so with a very credible institution like FMFB and in partnership with AKAM, the AKDN and the IFC,” said Mr Ichikawa.
About half of the adults in Pakistan cannot access financial services. In order to meet these demands, FMFB has been expanding its microfinance services for the last ten years. Consequently, FMFB is now the third largest microfinance bank (in amount of the total assets) in the country and the bankwill continue to expand the services it offers in the future.
FMFB, which recently celebrated its tenth anniversary, currently serves over 120,000 borrowers with a loan portfolio of nearly US$ 30 million that helps poor and low-income farmers, micro-entrepreneurs and other citizens of Pakistan to improve their incomes and enhance their quality of life. It also provides more than 230,000 clients with deposit and savings accounts.
For more information, please contact:
Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance
1-3 Avenue de la Paix - 1202 Genève
Tel: +41 22 909 7347
Fax: +41 22 909 7290
Since its establishment in 2005, the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM) has brought together over 25 years of microfinance activities, programmes and banks that were administered by sister agencies within the Aga Khan Development Network. The underlying objectives of AKAM are to reduce poverty, diminish the vulnerability of poor populations and alleviate economic and social exclusion. AKAM is a not-for-profit, non-denominational, international development agency created under Swiss law and it has 13 microcredit operations and two microinsurance operations in 13 countries. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. It is governed by a Board of Directors and the Chairman of the Board is His Highness the Aga Khan.
The First MicroFinanceBank Ltd, a part of the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM), is a non-commercial, private sector microfinance bank licensed by the State Bank of Pakistan. FMFB strives to alleviate poverty through sustainable economic development by offering credit, savings and life insurance services along with efficient, low cost funds-transfer services. It operates in 132 locations.