Pakistan: ADB, Kashf Foundation Partner to Expand Women's Access to Credit

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $25 million syndicated loan to support the lending operations of Kashf Foundation, one of Pakistan’s leading microfinance service providers, to low-income households and women-led micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). The loan will help expand women’s access to finance in Pakistan and empower them economically.

Access to finance is very limited in Pakistan, with only 21.3 percent of adults and seven percent of women over the age of 15 having a bank account in fiscal year 2017. This situation is particularly acute for MSMEs and individual borrowers, especially women-run microenterprises, as these entities receive only about seven percent of total bank credit to the private sector despite contributing around 40 percent to gross domestic product. MSMEs account for about 98 percent of all enterprises in Pakistan, employing more than 80 percent of the nonagricultural labor force.