Financial Services For Urban Informal
Workers in Sub-Saharan Africa!
Informal economies across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) employ 70% of its workforce according to a UN report. Sadly, however, urban informal economies are characterized by overcrowding, low irregular income, poor working and living conditions, poor addressing systems and low literacy, as such the traditional financial institutions are unable to provide financial services, hence, excluding millions. Urbanization rates across the SSA region is high, in fact, a 2017 UN report refers to SSA as the world's fastest urbanizing region. As the region’s urban population grows rapidly, the already bad situation facing the informal worker is likely to deteriorate and millions of urban informal workers will lack access to crucial financial services and products. A situation that will hold back millions from building safety nets and deprive millions more of the opportunity to get out of poverty. Currently, almost 300 million SSAs lack any form of account according to the Global Findex Database 2017 and women are the most excluded population.
We will offer digital financial services and products to urban informal workers. We will deploy our services through our online interface, mobile app, USSD, SMS, IVR (Interactive Voice Response) and social media, ensuring seamless transactions by integrating with mobile money wallet providers and stimulating trust by partnering financial institutions for long term and continued use, which has the potential of impacting their financial health by encouraging better financial habits and promoting a lifestyle of savings and investment. These immediate outputs feed into our ultimate outcome which is building resilient urban informal economies across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) where both workers and entrepreneurs can create safety nets and have opportunities to prosper. Supporting our assumptions is a study conducted in Kenya which found that access to mobile money services enabled women-headed households to increase their savings by more than a fifth. It allowed 185,000 women to develop business or retail activities, and helped reduce extreme poverty among women-headed households by 22 percent. The report also revealed that digital financial services can also help people manage financial risks.
We will offer digital financial services and products to urban informal workers in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and will charge fees on transaction and on returns on savings and investments. We will start from Ghana and scaling impact across the West African sub-region first, followed by Central, Eastern and Southern Africa in that order. We will scale our project using a star network model where the hub is the main computer or server hosting our services and products and each host or computer connected to the hub represent a sub-Saharan African country we serve. In addition, we will increase our service offerings to include insurance, pension, ecommerce, e-tickets, financial literacy program and offer our platform as a service to micro-financial institutions such as micro-finance, micro-insurance and micro-lending for collection and disbursement of funds. Our project will integrate with mobile money wallet providers allowing a frictionless and an efficient way to transact and we will boost trust and confidence through partnership with financial institutions. According to the Global Findex database 201, mobile money can expand the use of financial services and digital financial services can be used to manage financial risks.