Like Mutamba, millions of customers on the continent continue to circumvent brick and mortar banking services, boosting Africa’s financial technology (fintech) and providing accessibility for the unbanked.
Eversend, a Ugandan-led, mobile-only financial service, is among a plethora of apps across Africa experiencing rapid growth. “We’re growing 30% in terms of gross revenue … moving about $5 million dollars every month,” says co-founder Ronald Kasendwa.
However, when it comes to funding for mobile finance, e-commerce and even cryptocurrency ventures, Uganda fintech startups lag behind those located in larger tech hubs in places such as Nigeria and Kenya.
For Kenneth Ntende, co-founder of Ugandan startup DusuPay, the biggest hurdle is figuring out a way to move towards a borderless payment system. “Africa is too fragmented in the world of payments,” he says.
Ntende knows first-hand the potential in East Africa but worries about the fintech bubble. “Everyone tries to capture the opportunity, but only the strongest … will survive,” he says.
For new e-commerce business owners like Sandra Namakula, global payment systems can provide life-changing solutions. With DusuPay, she was able to create her own e-commerce store, fulfill orders from suppliers in China and collect payments from clients in neighboring countries all amid the pandemic.
“With an online business you have to be as fast and efficient as possible,” Namakula says.
Crypto investments go mobile
“There’s a vote of confidence for the tech industry in Africa,” the GSMA head of sub-Saharan Africa, Akinwale Goodluck, tells CNN. “We’ve seen a lot of innovation coming out of Africa … and this attracts interest from Twitter, Facebook and Google.”
Eversend’s Kasendwa says Africans will continue to create and adopt the latest tech.
“You can’t deny the fact that there’s mass adoption of cryptocurrencies,” he says. “We want to focus on making sure people can transact without killing their social norms … (while) building a networked community.”