Ugandan mobile financial startup Ensibuuko has partnered Mercy Corps’ Agri-Fin Mobile programme in a bid to deepen financial inclusion in the country through a mobile banking platform for Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs).
The platform is aimed at increasing SACCO efficiency and increasing access to financial services and information to for smallholder farmers.
The mobile banking and information system integrates mobile tools such as mobile money, SMS and USSD into customised banking platform which enables SACCOs to efficiently deliver affordable and tailored financial services to farmers while effectively managing their information.
“Our partnership with Ensibuuko will provide a solid management system to the SACCOs as a means to safeguard farmers’ money and provide them with a banking history which allows them to get to the next level of financial inclusion,” said Carol Kakooza, Agri-Fin Mobile programme director.
“The solution itself reduces on transaction cost for the farmers by bringing the power of transactions to their palms through mobile.”
Only 1.5 million of Uganda’s 35 million people have access to formal financial services. SACCOs are proving to be strong drivers in delivering financial services to smallholder farmers but are limited due operational structures and mistrust.
The platform rolled out by Mercy Corps and Ensibuuko will reach over 10,000 smallholder farmers, offering an opportunity to increase efficiency operations and information for and to end-clients.
Farmers are able to deposit and receive loans through their phones, drastically reducing the time taken to reach the SACCOs, and receive SMS alerts for each transaction and key financial literacy messages to reinforce knowledge on financial services.
“We believe that SACCOs are an important vehicle for financial inclusion, by developing a customised core banking solution and making it affordable for SACCOs, we are enhancing their efficiency to serve the rural poor in Uganda. Our solution is unlike other solutions, we have enriched it with mobile tools that enable SACCOs to employ a cost-effective means to provide desired financial services to their clients,” said Gerald Otim, Ensibuuko chief operations officer (COO).
“This is why our relationship with Mercy Corps is so timely. No matter how good our solution is, we need a reference point, a way to prove concept. In 2015 alone, over 20,000 rural farmers will benefit from this platform in Northern Uganda alone.”