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Mobile Industry players unite to host the Mobile Money Hackathon in Karachi

Karachi | Oct 9, 2017

Key players in the mobile industry in Pakistan collaborated to host a two-day Mobile Money Hackathon in Karachi on Saturday 7 – Sunday 8 October. Telenor Microfinance Bank and JazzCash, together with the GSMA, hosted companies and developers in the financial services industry, including banks, aggregators, payments switches, start-ups, fintech companies and established players, for the weekend challenge of testing and building solutions for harmonised API use cases. The hackathon took place at DotZero, Karachi’s community space for technology entrepreneurs and start-ups. Karandaaz Pakistan, a development organization promoting access to finance for small businesses through commercially directed investments and financial inclusion for individuals by employing technology-enabled digital solutions, sponsored the event.

This hackathon was part of a series that will take place in Africa, Asia and Latin America over the next two years, with the purpose of increasing awareness, demand, and implementation of the mobile money industry API.

The API specifications have been jointly designed by key industry stakeholders—mobile money providers, platform vendors, third party service providers and industry partners — combining best practices in the technology industry, with the aim of reducing integration time and complexity within the mobile money industry today, and to limit and avoid fragmentation in the mobile money ecosystem. The APIs will be implemented across the mobile money industry with other operators in Asia and beyond. The GSMA Mobile Money API has been implemented on the JazzCash and Telenor Bank platforms for the hackathon.

The Mobile Money Hackathon is the first of its kind to be hosted in South Asia and follows the success of the first two hackathons held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The hackathon is structured to solve two challenges – merchant payments and bill payments. The participating teams will innovate and build solutions for either one of the two challenges, with the first place team winning two expenses-paid tickets to Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry, in February 2018.

Pakistan has seen rich innovation in mobile financial services in recent years, and with useful APIs across the industry, the foundation is established for further growth and diversity in the industry.

Sharing his thoughts, Shahid Mustafa, President & CEO of Telenor Microfinance Bank, said:

We are happy to collaborate with the GSMA and other financial sector players to bring the new instalment of global Hackathon series to Pakistan. With high level of Telecom penetration coupled with low banking sector use, Pakistan offers a great opportunity to innovators, looking to use fintech to enhance banking/financial services use.

Aniqa Afzal Sandhu, Chief Digital Officer – Jazz, stated,

JazzCash’s goal from day one has been to bridge the prevalent banking divide in the country. One key part of this is promotion of innovation through working with private partners in the mobile money ecosystem and global bodies like the GSMA. And focusing on harmonized APIs allows us to utilize best solutions from around the globe in designing viable, advanced and secure offerings for customers in a digital age.

Mr. Ali Sarfraz, CEO of Karandaaz, added,

We are very excited to be partnering with the GSMA for this first-of-its-kind Hackathon in Pakistan. Karandaaz stays committed to promote the creation and uptake of different mobile money use cases. The GSMA has provided the perfect platform through this Hackathon by creating an enabling environment and bringing together the developers and exposing branch-less banking operators’ APIs to promote a culture of innovation within the DFS arena.

About Telenor Microfinance Bank
Telenor Microfinance Bank Limited (formerly Tameer Microfinance Bank), established in 2005, is the first scheduled microfinance bank in Pakistan. In 2009, we launched Pakistan’s first mobile banking platform, Easypaisa, which now has the largest nationwide footprint. Telenor Microfinance Bank has been awarded the ‘Best Microfinance Bank’ and ‘Bank the Unbanked’ award at the prestigious Pakistan Banking Awards twice in 2016 and 2017.
About JazzCash
JazzCash, a mobile financial service offering under Jazz’s ecosystem has over 70,000 retail outlets across Pakistan. JazzCash offers a broad portfolio of Branchless Banking services for customers including money transfer, bill payments, bank transfers, mobile accounts services, ATM cards, insurance, savings, payment gateway and payments for a variety of services.