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Ugandans And Diaspora: Driving The FinTech Agenda

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Image: theinsider.ug

If Ugandan Fintech was at a dating event, it’d would be the person at the bar that nobody had asked to dance yet. For too long left in the shade of (rather annoyingly) big cousin Kenya and (even more annoyingly) medium cousins Tanzania and Rwanda – things are suddenly starting to look more rosier for the Ugandan fintech scene.

Uganda has been the forgotten sibling of the East African region

Like all developing economies, country GDP trends can only tell part of the story – but benchmarking against similar nations with global data is always useful.

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The economy is growing impressively as the chart (% GDP growth trend) shows. GDP Annual Growth Rate in Uganda averaged around 5.6% percent from 2009 until 2018; much of the recent growth coming from services and finance rather than commodities. This suggests a movement in the right direction.

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However on the flip side, regional comparisons of the Ugandan economy suggest that more could be done to raise the standards of the economy and reduce inequalities. No proud Ugandan will be happy to see that on an East African basis, the relative performance has been behind its cousins. (Source: IMF)

Fintech can help raise Ugandan economic performance

There’s a growing recognition within the region’s emerging fintech scene that it can drive economic growth and widen financial inclusion for all sections of society.

Within sub-Saharan Africa, East Africa continues to lead in terms of adoption and usage rates (of mobile financial services). Whereas overall financial depth remains below other regions, Fintech is emerging as an engine of growth and technological enabler that fosters financial inclusion and economic development. IMF African Dept, Report on Fintech in Sub-Saharan Africa 2019

Thanks to the advance of mobile money, tens of millions of unbanked have become accustomed to using technology to manage their finances. This has been transformational within the region, and across the continent. This wide acceptance of using technology can now be harnessed to widen financial access further.

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As has been identified by the IMF, the low level of financial infrastructure generates demand for payment services, with a relatively large level of access to mobile devices. Fintech can change the financial industry in sub-Saharan Africa by increasing competition and efficiency – not least for SME’s and rural communities who lack the credit and means to make transactions.

Enter FITSPA – seeking to drive the fintech agenda in Uganda

FITSPA (Financial Technology Service Providers’ Association) was formed in Uganda to support and strengthen the fintech ecosystem; driving innovation and investment to the country. The organisation is independent, non-profit, and represents Uganda’s local fintech community and global partners.

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Fintech is driving most of the business sectors in Uganda making them more convenient, accessible, affordable and provides accountability at every stage. Our members create, develop and support solutions that solve the day today challenges of Uganda’s business environment using Technology. Our members are able to serve the unbanked using different channels to financially include everyone and achieve one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development goals that will help alleviate poverty in our economy.

Zianah N. Muddu, Engagement Partner FITSPA & General Secretary Africa FinTech Network

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2019 sets to be a busy year with Ugandan fintech under the spotlight thanks to the African Fintech Festival being held in Kampala in November.

Supported by the Africa Fintech Network, it offers a chance for public and private institutions to mingle with entrepreneurs – Uganda front and centre of the agenda. As Zianah adds;

Hosting the Africa Fintech Festival will be a game changer for Uganda. So often we’ve looked across the region to larger markets for ideas and inspiration. For Ugandan entrepreneurs, this is an opportunity to show thought leadership and ideas that will shape fintech across the continent.

Held under the theme “Building Africa’s Digital Economy with Fintech”, up to 500 delegates from Africa and around the world will converge to consider deliberate and meaningful steps that must be taken to ensure Fintech delivers its promise to open up the financial society. More on the agenda will be published in this Ugandan series of fintech articles.

Ugandan diaspora – this time coming home with $’s to invest

It is estimated that more than 1.5 million Ugandans live in the diaspora and international remittances have been measured at around 5% of total GDP; clearly, they play a significant role in the economy. Remittances by the diaspora used to be focused on consumption and not investment, but that is changing with the rise of middle class Ugandans in the UK, Europe and America. In the UK, there are more than 100 thousand Ugandans, many of whom are now successful entrepreneurs. This diaspora is looking for investment opportunities and fintech offers a new high growth sector.

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British Ugandans are an established economic block with significant funds to invest in the home country – but they expect real economic return. They take an interest in Uganda based on their heart, but invest based on their head. The fundamentals of fintech growth inevitably leads to interest in investing. At this year’s UK-Uganda Conventionthey’ll be seeking these opportunities.

Willy Mutenza Chairman, Uganda Convention-UK

This year’s UK-Uganda Convention is being held for the 9th year running and for the first time will feature fintech as a major focus area. Having created a partnership with FITSPA, the event will have a dedicated agenda to Ugandan fintech; featuring scale-up companies from Uganda and local insight from FITSPA. The event is supported by WorldRemit, one of Uganda’s remittance partners, who will also present their view on growth via partnerships in the country.

 

Author 

Martin Best is the Managing Director of the agency Full Reach.

Technology

Facebook, Africa Check expands its local language coverage as part of its Third-Party Fact-Checking Programme

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Facebook’s fact-checking programme relies on feedback from the Facebook community, as one of many signals Facebook uses to raise potentially false stories to fact-checkers for review

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, August 14, 2019 – Facebook, today with Africa Check announced that it has added new local language support for several African languages as part of its Third-Party Fact-Checking programme – which helps to assess the accuracy of news on Facebook and aims to reduce the spread of misinformation.

Launched in 2018 across five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Cameroon, Facebook has partnered with Africa Check, Africa’s first independent fact-checking organisation, to expand its local language coverage across:

  • Nigeria, in Yoruba and Igbo, adding to Hausa which was already supported
  • Swahili in Kenya
  • Wolof in Senegal
  • AfrikaansZuluSetswanaSothoNorthern Sotho and Southern Ndebele in South Africa

Also Read Black Space App CEO, April Jefferson on entrepreneurship and connecting black travelers to their culture

Kojo Boakye, Facebook Head of Public Policy, Africa, said: “We continue to make significant investments in our efforts to fight the spread of false news on our platform, whilst building supportive, safe, informed and inclusive communities. Our third-party fact-checking programme is just one of many ways we are doing this, and with the expansion of local language coverage, this will help in further improving the quality of information people see on Facebook. We know there is still more to do, and we’re committed to this.”

Commenting, Noko Makgato, executive director of Africa Check, said “We’re thrilled to be expanding the arsenal of the languages we cover in our work on Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme. In countries as linguistically diverse as Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Senegal, fact-checking in local languages is vital. Not only does it let us fact-check more content on Facebook, it also means we’ll be reaching more people across Africa with verified, credible information.”

About Third-Party Fact-Checking
Facebook’s fact-checking programme relies on feedback from the Facebook community, as one of many signals Facebook uses to raise potentially false stories to fact-checkers for review. Local articles will be fact-checked alongside the verification of photos and videos. If one of Facebook’s fact-checking partners identifies a story as false, Facebook will show it lower in News Feed, significantly reducing its distribution.

Credit APO Group/ Facebook.

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Oui Capital partners with IBM

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Oui Capital has partnered with IBM on the Startup with IBM program, to tap into the power of IBM Cloud to pace growth and build stronger portfolio businesses.

Through this partnership, Oui Capital will provide $120,000 in cloud credits and secure access to IBM tools to integrate solutions with leading-edge technologies and help deliver more value to portfolio companies. The Cloud credits allow access to over 130 industry leading services like AI, Watson, IoT, blockchain, advanced data analytics, developer tools, educational resources and technical support to aid building leading-edge solutions.

“Our goal for this partnership is to clear the technological hurdle for more diverse entrepreneurs. We strongly believe that innovation has no country of origin, which is why we are happy to support Oui Capital’s mission to empower companies in the African Continent” said Felix Ekwueme, Offering Leader at IBM, responsible for this partnership.

Also Read Cycles, Nigeria’s No.1 Bike-Sharing Platform Achieving The United Nations SDG Goal 11 – Damilola Soladoye

“IBM has operated in Africa since 1920 and has had a direct presence since 1939 in 24 Countries. We remain committed to being a part of Africa’s technological fabric, business and community”.

This partnership also allows affiliated startups to showcase their solutions on IBM Marketplace and to lBM’s customer network globally.

Oui Capital is an impact focused early stage VC fund investing in promising technology startups in Sub-saharan Africa. Apply here

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The growth of digital wallet is a global trend | Korapay

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Over the years, the FinTech industry has seen consistent innovations that not only make it fit for present-day users but also makes it a lot easier to access traditional services that once required a bank visit. This FinTech Era has brought to consumers real-time 24/7 access to financial services via mobile banking, digital wallets and virtual cards. As the fintech industry grows, some of these services — mobile banking, digital wallets — have branched out.

In this article, we will be looking at digital wallets, what it means and it’s growth globally. Along with that, how the growth of digital payments is synchronous with digital wallets and incentives that make digital wallets lucrative.

Also Read Cycles, Nigeria’s No.1 Bike-Sharing Platform Achieving The United Nations SDG Goal 11 – Damilola Soladoye

First, what are digital wallets? According to Investopedia, — A digital wallet is a system that securely stores users’ payment information and passwords for numerous payment methods and websites. Common examples include Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and PayPal. These platforms are being used to a great extent across the world. The growth of digital wallets is not segmented to a part of the world, no! It is a global trend. Millions of mobile users make a transaction every day with their smartphones. In the United States alone, 57 percent of users (which amounts to 60 million people) have used a mobile wallet at least once & as of 2016, PayPal has 600 000 users in Sub-Saharan Africa.

A key reason behind the rampant growth of digital wallets across the world is the ability to have one platform that makes all your transactions easier and faster as you don’t need to input your details every single time. Because of the quick transaction facility that digital wallets allow, it has been able to become one of the most used elements of the FinTech Industry. The rise in digital transactions is then another trigger issue which has resulted in the growth of digital wallets. Capgemini’s World Payments Report 2018 reveals that within 2015– 2016 the volumes of non-cash transactions have touched 482.6 billion and are expected to develop by 12.7% by 2021. Digital payments as an industry are anticipated to grow at a yearly rate of 18% between 2018–2023.

Of course, there are difficulties in the adoption of digital wallets. Most grown-up customers have not fully adopted digital payment practices, and changing from a traditional purse to a digital one will take some time. A lot of consumers have still not seen the need to change their payment behaviors, although most people would be inclined to switch if the new payment method would shorten the checkout procedure and if offered incentives as research has shown that discounts, rewards, and coupons could get customers to switch their payment type over to mobile wallets.

 

Written by

Steve Onwuka | Community Manager at Korapay: a cross border remittance platform focused on reducing the cost of money transfer and increasing its speed into and within Africa. Korapay allows individuals in the United States to send money within minutes to the bank account of anyone in Nigeria.

 

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