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Roshaneh Zafar

Roshaneh Zafar is the Founder and Managing Director of Kashf Foundation, Pakistan's first specialised Microfinance company providing financial services to women from low income areas. Under her leadership, Kashf Foundation has been a pioneer in not only linking micro women entrepreneurs to capital markets by floating Pakistan's first gender bond but in also providing a holistic approach to women's financial inclusion. She has worked with the World Bank as a women-in-development associate in the water and sanitation sectors. Roshaneh has been the recipient of many international and national awards, including Tamgha-i-Imtiaz, one of Pakistan's highest civilian awards, the Vital Voices for Women's Empowerment and Skoll Foundation's Social Entrepreneurship Award. She has also served on the World Economic Forums Global Agenda councils on the Gender gap and Pakistan and was a member of the United Nation's Advisors Group on Inclusive Financial sectors. She holds an honorary Phd from the University of Antwerp, a Masters in Development Economics from Yale University and a Bachelors in Science in Finance & Economics from the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania.

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Kashf Foundation
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For-profit Social Enterprise
Entrepreneurship; Future of Work
Areas of Impact
South Asia, Pakistan

Kashf Foundation

Since 2008 Pakistan’s economy has been shadowing the global economic meltdown; populations at the bottom of the pyramid face many challenges, including increasing inflation, rising energy and commodity prices, and general economic underdevelopment.

To help clients deal with this, Kashf Foundation ensures that clients have continuous access to financial services despite the instability in the macro and micro economy. This has been done by focusing credit on productive purposes, reducing loan overlap, assessing the debt capacity of clients prior to disbursements, and adjusting the credit methodology to increase loan productivity.

Kashf Foundation follows a micro-finance plus approach, offering a suite of complementary financial and non-financial services to its client base. Upon the application for a loan with Kashf, its business development officers undertake a mandatory one-on-one basic financial literacy session. Next, the client undergoes a loan screening process strongly focused on ensuring the loans are used for productive purposes, including an appraisal of the client’s business. The major loan product is the productive loan (up to $570) to expand and build economic opportunities. Additionally, Kashf Foundation provides its clients with the following services: systemized financial education training, gender training, social sensitization through community theatre performances, and business incubation services. These services are free and clients can opt into any of these programmes.


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