KARACHI: Karandaaz Pakistan has launched an online data portal with aggregated data on financial services and selected socioeconomic indicators for the country, a statement said on Tuesday.
The data is classified by segment — SME, agriculture, branchless banking, demographics — and also allows for detailed visualisation by province, gender, age, etc, where available, it added.
Drawing on publicly available information from reputable sources, the breadth of information contained in the portal will expand over time with the addition of new data categories and metrics accompanied by continuous backend upgrades.
Karandaaz is of the view the portal will be useful for a wide range of stakeholders, including policymakers, financial service providers, researchers and academics, it said.
Ultimately, the success of the portal will be contingent on the level of utility that it can create for the policymakers and industry proponents. Therefore, in addition to developing a one-stop aggregator tool, in the future, Karandaaz aims at adding the capability of layering datasets, to generate more nuanced learnings and insights.
Speaking about the initiative, Mehr Shah, director of Knowledge Management and Communications, Karandaaz Pakistan, said: “Developing the portal has involved extensive effort in design, optimisation, data entry and collation. The effort was hinged on a delivery model that leverages a SAS platform for data visualisation, negating the need for maintaining expensive in-house servers and computing hardware, which substantially reduced project cost. The result is an easy-to-use platform, which ensures access to data at the click of a button.”
Ali Sarfraz, CEO of Karandaaz Pakistan, said: “At present, there are numerous data sources on the provision of and access to financial services in Pakistan. These data are collected and collated at significant cost by government agencies, industry associations and development agencies. Therefore, while the availability of rich data was identified by Karandaaz as a positive, the lack of a platform to aggregate these indicators and industry benchmarks to allow for time series analysis and cross-sector comparisons was a pressing knowledge gap. We hope that this data portal will give rise to similar initiatives in other sectors, giving momentum to the good practice of making data the center piece of our discussions, debates and conversations on financial inclusion in Pakistan.”
Karandaaz Pakistan promotes financial inclusion in the country through promoting access to finance for SMEs through commercially directed investments and financial inclusion for individuals through promotion of digital financial services.
It also develops and disseminates evidence-based insights, and encourages innovation in financial space. Karandaaz has financial and institutional support from DFID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.