ISLAMABAD: Mobicash, the fastest growing mobile financial service provider and an initiative of Mobilink and Waseela Microfinance Bank Limited, signed an agreement with Khushhalibanklimited, one of the leading microfinance institutions of the country, in order to provide payment facilitation services to the unbanked and under banked markets in Pakistan. The signing ceremony was attended by Aniqa Afzal Sandhu, Director Mobile Financial Services, Mobicash, Ghazanfar Azzam, President, Waseela Microfinance Bank Limited and Ghalib Nishtar, President, Khushhalibanklimited.
In Pakistan, the conventional banking sector serves less than 20% of the population. It is with this in mind that Mobilink developed Mobicash, a mobile financial services platform, to provide basic banking services to the masses through retail agents. This partnering will expand Khushhalibanklimited’s network, allowing rural areas to make payments with ease and regularity.
Aniqa Afzal Sandhu speaking about the MoU said; “There is ample opportunity to utilize Mobicash platform to serve the marginalized community in Pakistan which makes Mobile Financial Services an ideal retail banking channel. In Pakistan, the conventional banking sector serves less than 20% of the population. This agreement to provide our services to Khushhali Bank’s network allows us to target the rural population of Pakistan.”
Moving forward, Khushhalibanklimited and Mobicash see significant opportunities for rapidly expanding microfinance and SME finance facilities through leverage of modern technologies to achieve efficiency and transactional conveniences to the target market segment. Both Khushhalibanklimited and Mobicash are market leaders within their industry.
Khushhalibanklimited was established in 2000 with a poverty alleviation agenda to provide microfinance services to the poor, particularly women, through community-based social mobilization. The existing network of KBL comprises of 118 branches spread across Pakistan, which is the largest geographic spread by any Microfinance entity in Pakistan.
SHELL ECO-MARATHON ASIA 2015 TO WELCOME OVER 130 STUDENT TEAMS TO MANILA
Sixth edition of the competition sees 7 student teams from Pakistan taking part; new entrants from Australia, Bangladesh, Oman and Saudi Arabia
KARACHI: Over 130 student teams from all across Asia and Middle East will arrive end of this month to put their self-built fuel-efficient vehicles to the test on a street circuit in the heart of Manila, Philippines. As Shell Eco-marathon enters its 30th year globally, the sixth Asian edition of the student innovation competition will welcome 7 student teams from Pakistan. Teams from Australia, Bangladesh, Oman and Saudi Arabia are taking part in this year’s competition for the first time in its history.
Student teams are challenged to stretch the boundaries of fuel efficiency in a real world urban environment, and winners are determined by the mileage achieved on a litre of fuel, rather than speed. Last year’s competition saw Team ‘How Much Ethanol’ from Panjavidhya Technological College, Thailand drive 2,730km on a litre of ethanol – the equivalent distance of a roundtrip between Karachi and Lahore.
Student teams will participate in the Prototype or UrbanConcept vehicle categories of the competition. The Prototype category will see student teams entering cars of the future – streamlined vehicles focused on maximising fuel efficiency through innovative design elements, such as drag reduction. The UrbanConcept category will focus on more “roadworthy” fuel-efficient vehicles. Aimed at meeting the real-life needs of drivers, these vehicles are closer in appearance to the higher-mileage cars seen on the roads today. A total of more than 130 vehicles – composed of Prototype and Urban Concept models – have been entered for this year’s competition.
For both Prototype and UrbanConcept categories, teams may enter vehicles using any of the following energy types: gasoline, diesel, alternative gasoline (ethanol 100), alternative diesel (Shell Gas-to-Liquid or fatty acid methyl ester), battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell or Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), a new energy type introduced for the 2015 competition. Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2015 will see three teams use Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as source of energy for their vehicles. Results for the electrically-powered vehicles are expressed in km per kilowatt hour (km/kWh), and in km per litre (km/l) for the other energy types. Students will have the freedom to exercise their creativity in technical and design aspects, with the condition that all vehicles entered meet specific safety rules.
The 7 student teams representing 5 universities of Pakistan – Pakistan Institute of Engineering & Applied Sciences (PIEAS), PNEC-NUST Karachi, National Fertilizer Corporation University (NFC), Air University and Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology (GIKI), will be racing alongside students representing universities, colleges and technical institutes from 16 other Asian countries; including 49 teams that will make their debut at the competition this year.
SEM Asia 2015 will see 24 On-Track awards with prize money of US$2,000 and US$1,000 for Winners and Runners up in different Prototype and UrbanConcept fuel categories. In addition, teams will also be vying for six Off-Track awards: Communications, Vehicle Design, Technical Innovation, Safety, Perseverance and Spirit of the Event and Shell Helix Tribology Award. The Shell Helix Tribology Award is an off-track award that recognises student teams that demonstrate the use of lubrication engineering principles to improve the fuel efficiency result of their vehicles.
To bring fuel efficiency practices to everyday life, Shell is conducting a Fuel Efficiency Survey to explore different methods Pakistani motorists employ to get the most out of their vehicle and motor fuel on day-to-day basis. The Pakistan Survey results will be announced later this month.
In last year’s SEM Asia competition, ‘Team PNEC-NUST’ from PNEC-NUST, Karachi won the off-track ‘Communications Award’ for their innovative approach towards spreading awareness about the event and fuel efficiency through social media and on-ground activities to promote a sustainable environment.
The flag-off ceremony for the student competition will be held on 27 February at Manila’s historic Luneta Park, while the closing ceremony and awards presentation will be held on 1 March at Tent City, Manila Hotel.
This year also marks the second edition of the Shell Powering Progress Together Forum at Shell Eco-marathon Asia, where more than 300 delegates from government, business and civil society gather to discuss challenges and potential solutions surrounding global energy, water and food resources. It runs alongside Shell Eco-marathon and features eminent speakers from the Philippines and region.
SEM Asia 2015 features educational exhibits that explore what the world and cities might look like in the future. Visitors will be able to access a live fan zone that allows them to get close to the track, learn more about the challenge, grab a bite to eat and possibly meet celebrity drivers and personalities. Another addition to this year’s Shell Eco-marathon is the Fact or Fiction Challenge, which will include an interactive myth-busting demonstration and celebrity driving challenge.
Full list of participating teams as of <30 January>:
No. Country/Territory No. of Teams
1 Australia 2
2 Bangladesh 1
3 Brunei Darussalam 4
4 Egypt 4
5 India 12
6 Indonesia 23
7 Japan 1
8 Malaysia 14
9 Oman 3
10 Pakistan 7
11 Philippines 30
12 Qatar 2
13 Saudi Arabia 3
14 Singapore 3
15 Thailand 10
16 United Arab Emirates 3
17 Vietnam 9