KARACHI: Founder of the country’s largest interest-free microfinance programme Akhuwat Dr Amjad Saqib has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work in poverty alleviation.
For this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, 343 candidates from around the world have been nominated.
Akhuwat Foundation Chairman Dr Amjad has said that his services are beyond such awards and they are purely for the sake of Allah.
Earlier in August 2021, Dr Amjad Saqib won The Ramon Magsaysay Award 2021, popularly known as the Asian Nobel Prize, for his “first-of-its-kind” interest- and collateral-free microfinance programme that has helped millions of poor families.
Akhuwat is the largest microfinance institution in Pakistan, offering a package of loans for the poor. It has distributed 4.8 million interest-free loans amounting to the equivalent of USD 900 million, helping three million families, with a remarkable 99.9% loan repayment rate.
It’s phenomenal growth has fueled Akhuwat’s social support programs in fields like education, where, in partnerships with government and others, Akhuwat has “adopted” hundreds of neglected and non-functioning public schools and established four residential colleges (one of them for women) for poor and deserving students.
Akhuwat also runs a health services program, helping hundreds of thousands of patients; a “clothes bank” that has distributed more than three million clothes for the needy; and a program of economic, health, and psycho-social services for the discriminated transgender community.
In the Covid-19 pandemic, Akhuwat responded with emergency loans and grants, food relief, and other assistance in over a hundred cities in Pakistan.
Who is Dr Amjad Saqib
Dr. Muhammad Amjad Saqib is a development practitioner, public servant, philanthropist and founder of Akhuwat, world’s largest interest-free microfinance program. His professional expertise and employment history include public management, poverty alleviation, social development, governance and educational reform in Pakistan.
Having graduated from King Edward Medical University, Dr. Saqib started his career by joining the esteemed civil service of Pakistan in 1985. He served at various high-level government positions including Punjab Rural Support Program (PRSP), a rural development and microfinance initiative by government of Punjab for seven years. The program aimed at social mobilization, community organization and provision of financial access to the poor.
Concluding that an alternative method is needed to cater to the needs of the poor, he decided to resign from the civil service and dedicate his life to the mission of creating a poverty-free society by founding Akhuwat.
Dr. Saqib resigned from Civil Service in 2003 and founded Akhuwat the same year. He has been its CEO and main driving force since beginning. With seventeen years of successful operations, Akhuwat now presents a viable model of Shariah-compliant microfinance, which is both sustainable and replicable. Besides Akhuwat, Dr. Saqib is voluntarily serving many civil society organizations in the realm of education, health, disability, banking and finance.
He is also on the board of a commercial bank and a few public universities. Besides his pro-bono services, Dr. Saqib regularly provides consultancy to various international development agencies including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Labor Organization (ILO), UNICEF, World Bank, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), USAID and Foreign Common Wealth and Development Office (FCDO, previously DFID) and different public sector organizations in Pakistan.
Dr. Saqib has a diverse educational background. Besides degree in medicine, he received his master’s degree in Public Administration from The American University, Washington D.C, USA.
He has spoken at highly esteemed international forums including Harvard, Oxford and United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN-ECOSOC). Dr. Saqib is a prolific writer and has authored nine books available on his website.