KAMPALA —While there has been growth in the number of Financial Technology Companies (FinTechs) integrating with telecoms and banks to facilitate easy payments and access to financial services, many will attest that the process is not that easy.
It involves holding discussions with different institutions before they can agree to pair (peer) with them over the internet.
This is, however, set to change, following the establishment of Raxio Data Centre in May this year. The first Tier III data centre in Uganda, it allows any fibre service and cloud service providers to connect and provide fast and uninterrupted services to their clients.
The Raxio Data Centre Uganda General Manager James Byaruhanga says that FinTechs can now integrate easily, using Raxio’s internet exchange point that enables direct peering to allow cross-connection with banks, telecoms and government organisations under the same roof.
This also eliminates risks that come with peering over the internet such as cyber security risks, red tape, bureaucracy and performance and latency.
Byaruhanga notes that data centres which provide carry-neutral and cloud-neutral services have become the centre stage of the digital revolution and are the heartbeat of the ecosystem of internet globally.
“If anyone wants to be part of the growing fourth industrial revolution and have their equipment in a location that is predictable, stable and ensures endless connectivity to your customers, a data centre is a place you want to be,” he says, adding that the evolution of carry-neutral certified data centres has been a cornerstone of a lot of development in the internet revolution.
Raxio will also provide co-location and cross-connect services to Ugandan companies for better service provision.
“Imagine you are a Ugandan FinTech but you are either going to take up a cloud service somewhere you sometimes don’t even know or you are going to have your in-house servers which sometimes are interrupted.
“Raxio provides an environment where when you are using your own servers, you can bring them and put them in our facility for much better service level to provide to your customers or you can buy a cloud service that is sitting in our data centre with one of our cloud service providers.”
Byaruhanga says they are in discussion with global service providers like Amazon Web Service, Microsoft and Google to have them extend their networks into Uganda, given that Raxio meets global standards.
Uganda is the first of the 12 countries Raxio Group plans to roll out. He says they have already broken out in Ethiopia as the second country and they are soon starting construction in Kinshasa, DRC.
The other countries are Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Namibia, among others.
Despite existing risks, Byaruhanga says there are opportunities in the market especially given the huge data FinTechs generate, saying it is a goldmine for analytics to innovate the right products that meet consumer needs.
Raxio Data Centre is among the firms participating in the ongoing second edition of the 40-Days 40-FinTechs programme, organized by HiPipo in partnership with Crosslake Technologies, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation, and sponsored by the Gates Foundation.
The initiative seeks to enable FinTechs come up with solutions that facilitate cross-network financial transactions at minimal risks to enhance access to financial services.
The HiPipo Chief Executive Officer Innocent Kawooya says this year’s edition is Uganda’s most comprehensive foray into things like distributed ledger technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Automated Customer Relationship Management, cash management and lending platforms.
He urges FinTechs to take advantage of the current COVID-19 pandemic to innovate more cashless payment solutions.
“We believe that, just like last year, FinTechs will take up the challenge and use the opportunity to ride the wave of appreciation for cashless payments the pandemic has brought,” Kawooya says
“We need to be prepared with appropriate products and have the appropriate real time payment systems in place to support an inclusive, interoperable digital marketplace that is both thriving and safe.”