JOHANNESBURG – FNB said on Monday that it had partnered with Selpal, a South African fintech company that operates specifically in townships, to boost the financial inclusion of the informal economy.
Selpal is a technology start-up that has developed an integrated system connecting informal retailers such as spaza shops (community grocers) with fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) suppliers, wholesalers and brands.
The user-centric platform was designed and built using direct observations, engagements and understanding of the pain-points that various users experience along the entire FMCG value chain in the informal sector, from manufacturer to consumer. With 50 percent of South Africa's urban population living in townships, the ecosystem supporting these communities warrants significantly greater focus from the banking sector, FNB Business chief executive Michael Vacy-Lyle said.
“We refer to this opportunity as the 'unseen economy' – the opportunity space that most call the informal sector or the township economy,” Vacy-Lyle said.
“These businesses range from survivalist businesses to often highly organised and sizeable SME (small and medium enterprise) operations. At FNB Business we are of the view that this business segment of the South African economy has been ignored for far too long.” Statistics show that there are around 30 to 40 businesses per 1 000 people in townships.