Alif is a Tajikistan-based Fintech company started in 2014 by Abdullo Kurbonov, Firdavs Mirzoev, and Zuhursho Rahmatulloev as a microcredit organization. The company had applied for the license after the State Bank of Pakistan announced a digital banking framework. Alif is now looking to enter Pakistan’s FinTech market to cater to the large unbanked population.
Mahmood Shamsher Ali has been working with the founders of Alif to explore the market and come up with solutions that could add the most value to the underbanked, and the overlooked SMEs of Pakistan.
Alif has been looking to offer to buy now pay later services and short-term loans per month along with B2B finance and remittance services. The company claims this would make for “interesting times” as legacy banks have been changing their operations, especially with the pandemic.
Additionally, FinTechs have been making innovations with payment methods and other ways of banking. Alif’s position is that Pakistan’s unbanked population and its small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been overlooked, with the report noting that banks had access to around Rs6 or 7 trillion, with 17-18 trillion of transactions not yet documented.
Shamsher Ali said Alif is also a Shariat compliant and has immense potential to serve the market of Pakistan as it is similar to that of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Pakistan is said to have immense potential in the FinTech space but due to a lack of Shariat compliant, most of the transactions are undocumented resulting in low banking penetration. Alif is offering to bridge that gap.
Alif’s founders recognized that the local solution would need to be one that was fast-evolving, strong technology, and customer-focused. It would need to be one that was designed specifically for the Pakistan market. Alif’s goals in Pakistan are consumer financing, mobile payments, SME financing, and mobile remittances where Alif is one of the fastest-growing market leaders.