Financial inclusion took another step forward as local start-up, uKheshe, a cheap and convenient South African QR cash card and micro transaction platform, won the 2019 Global Fintech Hackcelerator @ Southern Africa competition. Launched by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and powered by fintech/bank matchmaking platform, KPMG Matchi, this fintech acceleration programme creates a platform for firms to demonstrate their innovative solutions to complex financial challenges in the Southern African region.
“This is a significant win for us after just 11 months since launching. The issue of financial inclusion is a global one and the more we can do to uplift the unbanked and under banked, the healthier their respective economies will become,” says Clayton Hayward, co-founder, uKheshe.
Hayward says the Hackcelerator was an excellent opportunity to meet like-minded tech enthusiasts, all looking to disrupt and improve their local sectors: “We have some talented and exceptional businesses in South Africa all breaking new ground. uKheshe is proud to stand alongside these participants and showcase what local technology can do once it transcends geographic boundaries.”
Winning this local stage of the Hackcelerator places focus on the significance of financial inclusion. The World Bank, in stating its 2020 goal for financial access, says that financial inclusion is a building block for both poverty reduction and opportunities for economic growth, with access to digital financial services critical for joining the new digital economy.
While 1.2 billion people have opened a financial account since 2011, there are still an estimated 1.7 billion adults worldwide (or 31% of adults) who don’t have a basic transaction account. Globally, two-thirds of adults without an account cite a lack of money as a key reason, which implies that financial services aren’t yet affordable or designed to fit low-income users. Other barriers to account-opening include distance from a financial service provider, lack of necessary documentation papers and lack of trust in financial service providers.
uKheshe receives a stipend towards travel expenses to attend the 2019 Singapore Fintech Festival; will pitch its solution live during the Hackcelerator Demo Day at the 2019 Singapore Fintech Festival and engage with industry experts. The company will also receive funding to develop a contextualised proof of concept, to be deployed within a year from the Demo Day; and work with high-value corporates to contextualise a solution to their needs, while obtaining market entry into the Singapore and Asia-Pacific region.
“uKheshe is a platform that has immense potential. We look forward to showcasing this South African developed micro-transaction platform at the 2019 Singapore Fintech Festival,” says Hayward.
The photo above shows the uKheshe team, from left: Jason Penton, Clayton Hayward, Paul Carter-Brown and Mike Smits.