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Kingdom of animals? Or Kingdom of Fintech?

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Fintech in Africa: with the success story of M-PESA in Kenya

While walking on the streets both in the rural areas and urban areas in Kenya, you will find “M-PESA” everywhere. Sometimes you can find them more than supermarkets. What is M-PESA? It is a mobile phone-based transfer, financing and microfinancing service, launched in 2007 by Vodafone for Safaricom and Vodacom, the largest mobile network operators in Kenya and Tanzania. M-PESA allows users to deposit, withdraw, transfer money and pay for goods and services easily with any kind of mobile device. M’ is for Mobile and ‘Pesa’ is a Swahili word for Money.

With 93% of the population in Kenya having access to mobile payments, M-PESA is adopted by 19 million customers in the country including more than two-thirds of the adult population, and now boasts 30 million users in 10 other countries: Albania, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Romania and Tanzania.

M-PESA allows you to use your mobile phone as a wallet to pay for things like rent or utilities (electricity, water bills). It can be also used to send and withdraw money, buy airtime and save money, all through a mobile device. Sending money is as simple as sending a text message. In addition, it can be used to access bank accounts. All these services are accessible to people with ID cards or passports.

These transaction platforms opened the door to formal financial services for many poor people. Mobile phones are relatively affordable to many individuals in Africa, especially those living in rural areas. This service was open to anyone who has a mobile phone using a Safaricom line. Also, M-PESA was an easy and speedway of sending money from family members working in urban centers to their home villages. It can be less expensive than traveling to these areas where there was a lack of infrastructure to send cash by post.

There has been a huge amount of effort put into ensuring that consumer’s money is safe. They do not need to see a building with four walls with the name of a bank to trust their money is safe. It is safe with us. 

M-PESA also has had an incredible effect on Kenya’s social safety net. The 2008 election is a striking example of an emergency, where Kenyans used M-PESA to send money to friends and families trapped in cities, helping them to get access to food, water, and shelter. During this period of crisis, many Kenyans believed M-PESA was a safer place to store their money than keeping it in the banks which became entangled in political disputes.

How can one explain such a success? According to Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore, the key with M-PESA is trust. He said “There has been a huge amount of effort put into ensuring that consumer’s money is safe. They do not need to see a building with four walls with the name of a bank to trust their money is safe. It is safe with us.”

The service of M-PESA has been now extended to offer loans and saving products. Furthermore, it can also be used to disburse salaries or pay bills, helping the country decrease corruption. People can also save their time and money as they do not have to waste hours queuing up at the bank.

Looking at this special success story of Kenya’s M-PESA, Kenya has shown fintech-positive practical experiences, helping the population of the country to shift from the traditional banking system to online and innovative digital solutions. This has also contributed to bringing inclusive economic development.

M-PESA changed the way money is circulating in Kenya and Africa at large. Fintech can help transform and improve everyday life. And you, how has technology changed your way of life in your country?

 

Photo credit @WorldRemit, Flickr

 

 

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Mobile Application

Voucher distribution made simple, cost effective and efficient by VoucherNet

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Voucher Net Limited came as a result of a need to create value in the retailing of mobile phone top-up by making retailers have an efficient way of carrying out those Transactions while providing them an accounting tool. The retailing of recharge cards in Nigeria was also fraught with cases of theft and insecurity so my co-founder thought he had a solution to it as an IT expert and I had the business skills and a bit of disposable income to make the idea work and take it to the market.

Your products and services 

Our product is an affordable POS solution that enables SMEs to sell phone airtime, collect cash for bill payments, money transfer, insurance, and other digital products in a secure and efficient manner, at the same time automate their retail process and Inventory management.

This will enable these SMEs earn from a new revenue stream while performing their normal business.

We have also made it even more easy for someone to become a retailer by deploying a Mobile app called MOBitooT which is available on google Playstore for free. The app basically transforms your mobile phone to a retailing device, which is paired via Bluetooth to a portable handheld thermal printer for printing e-pins and receipts.

Your success factors 

Homegrown technology, scalable, robust design, committed and passionate co-founders, complementing skill sets, vast market, stable margins, locked in partnership with all mobile network operators, committed employees, solution is welcome in the niche we operate, growth is steady and continuous. Our business approach is also acknowledged as the future of the business by the Mobile Network Operators in Nigeria. So we are already future proof.

Your factors differentiating and disruptive compared to the existing 

We ride on a very strong customer service culture. This is one of the greatest missing links in African business. We want to show customers that they can get and do deserve better treatment and attention to their concerns. We also are nimble therefore very adaptive using technology as a means to resolving issues while relying also on minimal human intervention to our processes. We think automotive processes always.

Your business model 

we make money from discounts on the face value of our products as discounted by the mobile network operators and commissions on transactions on every product sold by our growing retailers and direct to consumer products.

A few words about your competitors

our competitors are too big with huge overheads. We actually can make them more efficient with our distributors portal aimed at digitizing our competitors but, they are refusing to adopt so, we know that soon enough, they either adopt, adapt or die. Simply because we are already miles ahead of them in terms of technology and innovation and they simply are too big to be as profitable or too large to be as versatile and agile.

Your website 

www.vouchernet.com.ng

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Mobile Application

Fastvan : an easy and convenient way to ship your items

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All in one logistics app, we work with independent drivers, increase employment. The app has all freight rates instantly integrated, already gives quotes in less than 1 second, all automated from rates, invoice, driver app for delivery and proof of delivery also automated and sent to customer email. Bulk orders for large companies outsourcing their distribution or using our large number of drivers to complete peer to peer delivery.

Your business model 

Fastvan is the easiest and most convenient way to ship your items.

Our leading courier’s collect your parcels. To make sure you get the best price and service, users can accept or reject an instant quote from each courier, receive an automated waybill and invoice as well as track your shipment from pickup to delivery in real-time, rate the driver and count on outstanding customer support from

Fastvan aims to revolutionize and re-invent the traditionally inefficient shipping industry by moving it entirely online and to mobile devices, bringing greater automation and transparency. Available on the App Store and Google Play Store.

The mobile app provides an easy on demand shipping experience allowing users to ship locally and internationally.

Fastvan retains 20% commission on every transaction

A few words about your competitors

No direct competition in Africa

Your website 

www.fastvan.com

 

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Mobile Application

Weebi, a mobile application that facilitates bookkeeping for small informal businesses

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Weebi was born when Amadou, our local shopkeeper poured oil all over his notebooks. In these books he kept a trackrecord of all his clients’ debts. The event caused such a mess that he almost closed his business. Angry customers and anxious shopkeepers led us to design a mobile app to solve the problem of clients’ bookkeeping for small business in Dakar.

Our android app works offline and provides confidential data back-up when there is reliable connectivity. It is used by illiterates and using simple iconic functions.

Our key factor is the fact that the app is so simple that it can be used by anyone. Main problem for business owners and shopkeepers is cost of learning and time to mastering digital tools. By selling an android app we lower drastically this cost.

 Weebi distinguishes from competitors through its customer service. Our network of local agents allows us to provide customers with regular support and to answer to their feedbacks. This also allows us to give payment facility to our customers, that often need 2-3 months delay.

 We market the app through 3 different packages ; a simple version with a mini bluetooth printer (55K CFA) ; a 7” tablet and printer with (99K) and a luxury pack with Weebi’s customized anti-theft stand. We are also implementing a monthly subscriptions for data analysis providing our customers with insights on how to develop their businesses.

To know more about us :

www.weebi.com

http://www.jeuneafrique.com/367447/economie/start-up-africaine-de-semaine-weebi-lardoise-electronique-commercants-de-dakar/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1GfPTgqAsAiF0j45tGY-bA

 

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