KAMPALA — While financial inclusion in Uganda has greatly improved over the years, women are still lagging behind their male counterparts.
However, a number of initiatives are being undertaken to close the gap. Among them is Payclide’s agency model of service provision, which puts emphasis on empowering women by enrolling them as agents.
Payclide, a product of Cytrone Limited – a payment technology company that offers a domestic, open-loop, multilateral system that facilitates electronic payments, seeks to make access to financial services safe and more convenient.
According to the firms’ founder and Chief Executive Officer, Bob Moses Oyuru, women inclusion is one of the things Cytrone holds dear.
He explains that through their agency model of service provision, several women have been able to start businesses as agents.
This, Oyoru adds, has been facilitated by the easing of Know-Your-Customer (KYC) requirements that saw the introduction of Tiered KYC, enabling more women to become agents.
“Telecoms initially required agents to have certain kind of documentation like trading licenses, bank accounts and certificates of registration, to have the agency business, which most of them, especially those who are individual users couldn’t provide.
“With the Tiered KYC, we now have several agents because the number of necessitated documents was reduced to either a national identity card or a trading license. This has given especially the women a boost in their financial health,” Oyuru says.
Payclide is a web and mobile Application that provides merchant aggregation system and peer-to-peer mobile payment platform that can be accessed anytime.
It also has a wallet which allows people to save money, send to friends and family or withdraw it any time, pay utility bills and access banking services.
The firm has partnered with mobile telecommunication companies such as MTN and Airtel, KCB bank and integrated with Interswitch for bank settlements, according to Oyuru.
PayClide also allows merchants to accept payments from mobile money and credit cards and also deposit the received money into the bank without necessarily having to travel to the bank.
Transferring money using PayClide is free of charge. The company only charges a small percentage to settle funds into the bank.
Oyuru explains that people have been struggling to keep their cash secure given the long distances to formal financial institutions and high transfer and withdraw fees that are making it hard for people to use mobile money.
“Keeping cash secure in trickier; the high transfer and withdraw fees and long distances are also an obstacle to using mobile money. The distances involved to and from financial institutions makes it hard for people to use them,” he said.
40-Days 40 FinTechs
Cytrone is among the firms participating in the ongoing second edition of the 40-days-40-FinTechs initiative, organised by HiPipo, in partnership with Crosslake Tech, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation and sponsored by the Gates Foundation.
It seeks to enable FinTechs to innovate solutions that facilitate cross-network financial transactions at minimal risks to enhance access to financial services.
Oyuru applauded HiPipo for the 40-days-40 FinTechs initiative, saying it has created visibility for Uganda’s nascent FinTech industry.
“Most start-up companies do not get the audience that they expect to get but this initiative has given us that visibility,” he notes.
The HiPipo CEO Innocent Kawooya notes that this edition of 40-Days 40 FinTechs will be 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, however, adds that a connecting thread will be how FinTechs urgently need interoperability and how open source frameworks such as Mojaloop, are here to help, including guiding on how emerging frameworks such as LevelOneProject principles can be used to engender sustainable financial inclusion impact.