CERP at Annual Microfinance Conference 2018

17 Dec 2018

‘Impact happens when preparation meets opportunity.’ – Maroof Syed

“Our approach at CERP is to identify the pain points, define the problem, and sell the insights that come through research paired with analysis,” discussed Maroof Syed, CEO CERP, at the Annual Microfinance Conference 2018.
The conference was cohosted by Pakistan Microfinance Network and Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company (PMIC).
Introducing CERP, Maroof said, “(The Center) started off as a research institute, and there has been a huge uptake of our work with different partners. There are currently 23 projects ongoing at CERP. More recently we started working with FINCA. We started collecting a lot of data in the process, and this has allowed us to expand our portfolio from research to include analytics, advising and capacity building. We need good partners and confidence that the quality work will scale up. As the current government goes through the transition of campaigning to governance, we hope we can contribute more.”
As the world is shifting towards realizing profits from analyzing data, Maroof shared some insights on how data is built bottom up and not top down. He explained that the opportunity with the microfinance network platform is “that we are linked directly with the people. We need to strengthen the network as a collector and provider of data. The research that should be generated should be problem-driven to allow us to get better engagement and results. For example, if we can lower the transaction costs of the MFIs, we can push this downstream and reduce interest rates for the borrowers.”
He explained that the teaching component of CERP BCURE, has been building capacity in government departments and has trained 2,000 government employees on evidence-based policy making. He added that the trainings address the depreciation of public service capacity.
CERP has collaborated on a number of projects with private and public sector. Answering a query regarding the public sector, Marroof explained that, “A challenge when engaging with the public sector, is that at the macro level, partners are slower to embrace evidence. Capacity in government departments is key- you want the government partner to understand and adopt. Opportunity comes when there is a leader that can be a catalyst and can focus on problem defined work rather than politically inspired work.”