ISLAMABAD: A UK-based financial services company ‘Kuda Technologies’ inwith Fatima Group and The City Schools Group has applied for a digital banking licence in Pakistan with the goal of driving financial inclusion in the country. Founded in 2019 and with over $90 million of funding from renowned institutional investors including Valar Ventures and Target Global, Kuda Technologies has acquired more than 3 million customers in Nigeria alone on the strength of its proprietary core banking platform, a data-driven approach to the provision of instant credit, seamless, touch-free customer onboarding, and an overriding mission to provide affordable and inclusive financial services. Having processed transactions worth US$10 billion over the past 6 months in its retail customer segment, Kuda Technologies is now aiming at providing the same access to affordable and user-friendly financial services to micro, small and medium sized businesses across Africa, where it is in the process of expanding into seven new markets by the end of 2022. According to Ryan Laubscher, Kuda’s Group Chief Expansion Officer, the company’s partnership with Fatima Group and The City Schools Group “leverages each partner’s unique reach and capabilities to create a powerful proposition with enormous potential to increase financial access and affordability in Pakistan, and most notably, with a focus on the agriculture and education sectors.” Fatima Group is Pakistan’s leading agribusiness group with a captive 2.5 million customers, and its agriculture financing pilots have recorded success in helping farmers increase crop yield. The group has also invested in Fatima Gobi Ventures which is in turn an active investor in technology startups, having funded Airlift, Tajir and Safepay in Pakistan. Ali Mukhtar, Director at Fatima Group stated: “Digital in agriculture is a key agenda of SBP. Fatima Group, with its deep agribusiness roots, and Kuda’s technological solution will bring in a revolution for the country by providing ease of agri-banking solutions.” The City Schools Group has positioned itself as a leader in educational inclusion on the basis of its 40-year experience in providing high-quality education to its 200,000 students across 700 schools. Aurangzeb Firoz, Director at City Schools Group stated: “Quality education is a key priority for a developing Pakistan. We aim to provide convenience and peace of mind for parents, teachers and students through an integrated banking experience and education finance solutions in partnership with Kuda.” Emphasising Kuda Technologies’ technological strengths, Kuda’s Ryan Laubscher noted that the company’s priority was to provide affordable banking and scale its partners’ inclusion-focused initiatives in Pakistan. “Through their existing initiatives, Fatima Group and The City Schools Group have shown the world what can be achieved when inclusion is taken seriously. With Kuda’s custom technology, we will be able to scale these initiatives to give more people across Pakistan access to better financial opportunities,” he said. The consortium members recently signed an agreement. Present at the signing were Ryan Laubscher – Kuda’s Group Chief Expansion Officer, Ali Mukhtar – Director at Fatima Group, Aurangzeb Firoz – Director at City Schools Group, and Tooran Asif – CEO.