The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has left majority Ugandan businesses and even individuals in desperate need of a financial bailout. Sadly, many of them could hardly access credit due to lack of security and other necessary requirements.
However, there has been a reprieve for more than nine million Ugandans who have used their mobile banking accounts to acquire quick loans.
Through MoKash, a money lending and savings platform hosted by MTN Uganda, NCBA Bank Uganda Limited is helping over 9.7 customers to get low-cost unsecured credit in the shortest time possible.
With the 9.7 million MoKash accounts, NCBA automatically becomes the biggest bank in Uganda in terms of Account Holders.
“The partnership with MTN Mobile Money Uganda Limited allows us to continuously extend financial services to millions of Ugandans through the mobile channel. It is a great partnership that is positively contributing to the deepening of the financial inclusion agenda in Uganda,” says Anthony Ndegwa, the NCBA CEO.
Ndegwa however adds that the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic has presented both challenges and opportunities for economies and businesses world over, one of them being failure to repay loans.
“Our MoKash service has experienced similar trends,” he says.
As part of their financial management process during the pandemic, they have worked with MTN to increase customer engagement with a view of improving their appreciation of the changes happening within the environment, and how to adapt to these changes.
“The increased focus on customer engagement has helped to maintain the momentum on customer repayments.
Additionally, we provided some relief to customers during this period, as supported by the Bank of Uganda….to allow our customers deal with the new realities that came with the pandemic,” he adds.
In addition to the MoKash service, Ndegwa says NCBA bank recently opened an MTN Escrow Account that allows them to provide Float Management Services to MTN Agents and Customers.
“We will continue to innovate in this space to ensure that we are positively impacting the lives of Ugandans,” he says.
Meanwhile, Ndegwa notes that there have been great strides in Uganda’s Fintech industry over the past few years.
He explains that just like the rest of the world, the disruption brought by digital technologies has ushered in new opportunities that innovators are quickly taking advantage of.
“With the introduction of the new regulation (National Payment Systems Act 2019) to support innovation in the Fintech space, Uganda will soon be a hub for financial services innovation,” he says.
Ndegwa appreciated the organizers of the second edition of 40-Days-40-FinTechs initiative, noting that while there has been a lot of positive change in the FinTech landscape, locally and globally, there have not been many platforms to showcase these initiatives here in Uganda and across Africa.
The 40-Days 40-FinTechs initiative is organised by HiPipo in partnership with Crosslake Technologies, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation, and sponsored by the Gates Foundation.
“With the 40-Days-40-FinTech’s initiative, Innovators now have a platform that sheds light on the big transformations happening within the Digital Financial Services space,” he says.
The resultant effect is an overall improvement in the quality and quantity of innovations coming into the Fintech space.
The HiPipo Chief Executive Officer Innocent Kawooya says the 40-Days 40-FinTechs initiative seeks to boost the African FinTech ecosystem to enable innovators enjoy sustainable profitability to help them design and deploy affordable and inclusive financial services especially for the poor.
40 Days 40 FinTechs season two started on 12th July, 2021 and has since featured 42 players in the FinTech ecosystem. It will culminate in the scientific FinTech Landscape Exhibition to be held on 2nd September, 2021.