Financial inclusion firmly on Africa’s agenda as uKheshe celebrates first milestone
JOHANNESBURG – A year since launching, uKheshe, South Africa’s cheapest and most convenient QR cash card and micro transaction platform, has left an indelible imprint on South Africa’s unbanked and underbanked. The start-up, with over 300 000 users to date, has forged ahead with its financial inclusion strategy, receiving high praise and global recognition.
Clayton Hayward, co-founder and chief executive, uKheshe, says that the first year has exceeded all expectations: “As a start-up you never quite know how the business idea will be received, but with financial inclusion becoming both a local and global imperative, uKheshe has been embraced not only by users, but the fintech market too. We could not have asked for a better first year in business.”
With a growing base of users and a diversified product offering covering cash cards, health and insurance benefits cards, uKheshe was also selected as a winner of the 2019 Global Fintech Hackcelerator @ Southern Africa competition: “We were delighted to win this competition backed by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and KPMG Matchi. We took uKheshe to the Singapore FinTech Festival where we demonstrated how our innovative solutions can resolve complex financial challenges in the Southern African region,” says Hayward.
Making an impact within the financial inclusion sector, uKheshe took to the local streets with CGAP - a global think tank that works to advance the lives of poor people through financial inclusion. UKheshe showcased its cash card and the impact this has on the informal economy: “Witnessing the impact of digitising merchant payments enables organisations such as CGAP to fully appreciate the potential solutions like uKheshe have to make a difference and improve financial and social inclusion which is a growing concern for many countries,” says Hayward.
Aveesha Singh –consultant customer-led strategy working with CGAP in South Africa, said that it was a privilege to meet uKheshe customers and see, first-hand how their lives are changing as a result of being included: “South Africa’s underserved are providing services to the affluent every day. uKheshe’s service goes beyond financial inclusion to social integration amongst South Africans through ethical design and committed focus to the customer’s experience.”
Hayward says the company will continue its efforts to address and create awareness of the importance of financial inclusion. Seeking to build the business further, he says that uKheshe will enter Series A funding round early in 2020.