Disaster and risk management training for Microfinanciers

Citi Pakistan collaborates with Pakistan Microfinance Network to launch comprehensive risk management workshop

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Citi Pakistan has collaborated with the Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN) to launch a comprehensive risk management workshop for the country's Microfinance Practitioners (MFPs). The initiative is part of Citi Foundation's ongoing support for disaster relief in the aftermath of Pakistan's devastating floods of 2010.

The three-day seminar in July covered risk management in all categories relevant to MFPs, such as credit, market and operational risk. Special focus was also given to the management of liquidity risk in disaster situations.

The course was led by Christian Ruehmer, a leading expert on microfinance risk at the International Finance Corporation.

MFPs who attended were shown how to assess their current risk management capability as well as implement organizational improvements.

"Our partnership with PMN has played a vital role in strengthening the capacity-building of the microfinance sector in Pakistan," said Citi's Country Officer Arif Usmani. "This training program concluded with a best practice research note on lessons learnt from recent disasters, so as to enable the sector to pre-empt risks in the future."

Citi's long-standing relationship with PMN is part of an ongoing focus to develop microfinance as a tool for social inclusion in Pakistan, using Citi Foundation funding.

With Citi's support, PMN has set up an online infrastructure for information-sharing within the industry. It has also established a credit bureau and worked to build positive links with the media.

As the bank celebrates 50 years in Pakistan, Citi Foundation has committed new funding to PMN for the first national study to measure the social impact of the microfinance sector. It has also pledged $20,000 to the Akhuwat Foundation for an interest-free micro-entrepreneurship program to help female entrepreneurs set up in businesses.

This year also marks the completion of Citi's microfinance flood rehabilitation program with the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, enabling vulnerable groups such as widows, the disabled and the ultra-poor to rebuild their lives in the wake of last year's floods.