Andrew Mutua, Founder and CEO of PesaKit
COVID-19 is driving a major shift in customer behavior in Africa as in the rest of the world. How do fintech startups in Africa adapt, leapfrog digitally and thrive?
COVID-19 is driving a major shift in customer behaviors — with a rapid increase in the use of digital payment models and online product and service channels. It has also shifted how businesses operate, with many accelerating investments in digital channels and related enablers in order to meet customer needs.
Grace has been a loyal PesaKit customer for over a year. Like many of our customers, Grace experienced ~50% decline in her agency business due to the curfew, lock down and losses associated with Covid-19 between April and June 2020.
Mobile money agents such as Grace represent the physical backbone and face of the mobile money industry. To ensure that they recover in the post-COVID era many factors need to fall into place. Insufficient consumer protection, lack of financial and digital literacy, unequal access to digital infrastructure, and data biases need to be curbed to attain an inclusive recovery. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we support our customers in minimizing the negative economic impact and emerge stronger from this pandemic.
The PesaKit COVID-19 Response
We stepped up our efforts to help our customers protect themselves and navigate this difficult period in ways that secures their income, boosts their financial resilience and helps them sustain their businesses.
Our responses included:
- A Safety & Anti-misinformation Campaign
- COVID-19 Hospital Cash Insurance
- Float Exchange
To learn more about PesaKit’s Covid-19 responses visit our COVID-19 subsite covid-19.pesakit.co.ke
The PesaKit Strategy
COVID-19 pandemic prompted us to accelerate our product roadmap. We strove to become a digital-first and data driven business within 6 months, and we achieved it.
As the uptake of mobile money services and e-commerce continues to grow, the expansion and evolution of the agent network becomes all the more critical to ensuring a high quality of service. Winning and retaining the trust of customers, including those who are low income earners or new to the technology is central to success. Customer expectations are evolving regularly, instant gratification has become the norm and they expect companies to anticipate their needs.
Mobile money is the most popular financial service in Sub Saharan Africa and in Kenya, mobile money transaction volume constitutes nearly 50% of our GDP. There is a mobile money agent for approximately every 231 people. These agents are able to reach large volumes of the population via a real human touchpoint, at a scale no other organizations can compete with. Unfortunately, individual agents like Grace often struggle to adequately meet customer demands for withdrawals or deposits due to lack of cash on hand and/or e-float. As such, they miss opportunities to earn commissions and to serve their customers.
Our promise is to empower Grace and other mobile money agents throughout Africa and the communities they serve to grow and prosper. The PesaKit platform equips agents with the right financial tools, technology and data insights required to rebuild her businesses and thrive in this ‘new normal’.
We focus our efforts in improving the financial health of agents and the customers they serve thereby fostering financial and digital inclusion.
The New PesaKit App
The recently launched PesaKit app will help over 200,000 mobile money agents in Kenya access digital financial services and unlock access for millions of customers that are currently un-and under-served.
The app increases the number and variety of financial services that Kenyans living in peri-urban and rural areas can access via their local trusted agents. We enable mobile money agents to grow their business, better manage their liquidity, increase revenue, and with time improve their overall financial health.
Our supply-side intelligent platform creates new markets for financial and ecommerce service providers. It enables them to expand their reach, consumer base and expand last mile distribution through our API.
Through our platform we continue to support Grace and other micro entrepreneurs making them reliable and efficient last-mile access points for financial services and digital commerce in Africa.
PesaKit’s agent centric approach ensures the uninterrupted flow of business for mobile money agents across Kenya. At no point will an agent find themself ceasing operations due to lack of float which will in turn adversely affect the underserved population of the country. This continuous flow of float builds trust and loyalty between the agents and their customers.
With the launch of our new app, we are getting closer to revolutionizing last-mile access to financial services and digital commerce for everyone, everywhere through mobile money agents.
And to all fellow entrepreneurs; Be nimble, keep innovating and trust the process. ‘New normal’, new rules?
To learn more about PesaKit, visit https://www.pesakit.co.ke