- Executive Director
About Akhuwat: The mission of Akhuwat is to alleviate poverty by empowering socially and economically marginalized families through interest free microfinance and by harnessing entrepreneurial potential, capacity building and social guidance.
Nomination in Brief
Muhammad Amjad Saqib, Executive Director of microfinance company Akhuwat, utilizes small interest-free loans as a tool to alleviate poverty among Pakistan’s most marginalized, including religious minorities such as Hindus and Christians. Group loans emphasize forming interfaith partners, which builds not only economic resiliency but interfaith collaboration, both of which defend against radicalization and extremism.
Read Muhammad Amjad Saqib 2018 Nomination form (Word Doc)
Dr. Amjad Saqib, founder of the world’s largest interest-free microfinance program – Akhuwat, is a development practitioner, philanthropist, writer and a former civil servant. In recognition of his meritorious services, the President of Pakistan honored him with Sitara-e-Imtiaz, one of the highest civil awards. He has also received the “Life Time Achievement Award” from Reuters and the Human Rights Society of Pakistan. While serving at high-level bureaucratic positions, he resigned as the General Manager of Punjab Rural Support Program in 2003 to completely dedicate himself as a social entrepreneur and the mission of creating a poverty-free society. Being a believer of an integrated approach to poverty alleviation, Dr. Saqib is serving many other civil society organizations like the Punjab Educational Endowment Fund (PEEF) and syndicates of few public sector universities including the Punjab University on a voluntary basis. Besides his pro bono work for Akhuwat, he is a highly sought after development consultant, and has provided consultancy to various international development agencies such as the World Bank and UNICEF. He is the author of seven books and a medical graduate from the King Edward Medical College (Pakistan) and recipient of Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship for Master’s degree in Public Administration from the American University, Washington-USA.
Akhuwat utilizes interest-free microfinance as a tool to alleviate poverty. It provides microcredit (average size USD 150) to the unbanked, not seen as being creditworthy. In Pakistan, the religious minorities including Christians and Hindus are among the most marginalized groups. To facilitate this cohort socio-economically, Akhuwat under the leadership of Dr. Saqib has taken various policy measures. First, as a core value, loans are disbursed at places of worship including mosques and churches. Borrowers, irrespective of religious background, are welcome at the respective ceremony venue. This lays a network for socio-religious cohesion and acceptance. Second, to commemorate events of all religions, special disbursements are held at Christmas and Easter. This, besides economic facilitation, fosters a wave of religious harmony. Third, as part of group-lending, potential borrowers are encouraged to include members of minority religious community. In fact, while approving loan applications, preference is given to candidates who belong to a minority group. Fourth, Akhuwat’s education services, including its residential college has an intake quota for applicants belonging to religious minority groups. This provides students an opportunity to understand and respect other religious groups from a young age.
- Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali
- Oxford Center of Training, Research, Advocacy and Dialogue (OXTRAD)