A decentralized blockchain digital wallet
Mobile App WalletA decentralized blockchain based digital wallet.
Core TechnologyOur digital wallet is built on the stellar network which connects banks, payment system and people.
AnchorUhuru is backed by reliable institutions that guarantee liquidity and security for its users.
- Migrant Workers and Remittances
It is well known that remittances have kept Sub-Saharan Africa ticking for many years. Millions have fled their countries of birth due to economic crisis or war crimes. Desperate to provide for their families they have braved new worlds, often finding themselves in nations where they do not so much as speak the language. As their families’ only hope, migrants have taken up menial jobs that local residents regard as beneath them. The majority of those significantly small wages are sent home every month. These salaries are what those left at home depend on for all their needs such as food, water, medical supplies, clothing, school fees and transport. In some instances, these funds are utilised to assist their loved ones to start informal businesses.
Over the years remittances to developing nations have reached over 500 billion USD annually. These nations depend on these funds to inject life into their economies. GDP is significantly impacted by these remittances. For instance, in South Sudan it is estimated that remittance flow made up 34,4% of the country’s GDP.
It is reported that Sub-Saharan Africa is the most expensive region to send money to due to lack of competition. It can cost up to 9% of the value of the transaction. For migrant workers that earn very little this can be prohibitive. A study has shown that South Africa is one of the most expensive countries to send money from; this is concerning as it hosts the bulk of migrant workers on the continent. It is imperative that organisations such as Uhuru Wallet grow their base and take up space to ensure that migrant workers have alternative solutions to send money home and support their families in their home countries. By enabling migrants to pay for utilities and services such as airtime and DSTV (cable TV) for the families back home on their platform Uhuru not only provides convenience but reduces the cost of those transactions.
Through innovation and strategies such as tokenization, the world of remittances is constantly changing and starting to benefit those that have given up everything they know for their survival as well as their families’. Technology has become the great equalizer and is bringing much needed competition into the market. We will surely continue to see continued innovation as more African start ups pop up and are getting funding and recognition in the space.Nov 24, 2020- It is well known that remittances have kept Sub-Saharan Africa ticking for many years. Millions have fled their countries of birth due to economic crisis or war crimes. Desperate to provide for their families they have braved new worlds, often finding themselves in nations where they do not so much as speak the language. As […]
- Financial Inclusion Post Covid-19
The global Covid19 pandemic has, along with the catastrophic loss of life, had an adverse and far-reaching impact on the global economy, last seen a century ago. The contagiousness of the virus has forced a change in behaviour, most notably, social distancing, to curtail its exponential spread.
Consequently, there has been an increase in the use of digital communication tools as firms sought new ways of continuing with provision of services while maintaining limited physical contact. The same reason has seen a rise in the adoption of digital financial solutions as economies pushed to tick along during the pandemic. Non-direct and cashless methods of transacting and accessing financial services have become the preferred, if not the only, solution in the different stages of lock-down experienced the world over. Financial inclusion has meant much more in these times than ever before as the conventional means of accessing goods and services became, to a large extent, untenable.
From a macroeconomic perspective, financial inclusion has been proven to spur economic growth as participation in the economy is broadened especially in the low-income segments. This is particularly important for the global economy that is yet to emerge from the aftermath of the pandemic. This type of economic growth has also proven effective in narrowing income inequality.
Ordinarily, the increased adoption of digital financial services has been higher in countries with lower traditional financial penetration, primarily Africa and Asia. It is important to note, however, that the challenges constraining financial inclusion which existed before the pandemic are still present. These countries are characterised by low mobile penetration, limited access to the internet, prohibitive internet data cost, low literacy amongst target users as well as digital security concerns. However, necessity brought about by the pandemic is dropping the threshold for experimenting with non-traditional digital financial products.
The prevailing conditions are also conducive to introduction of innovative products into the market given the natural pull of a captive market and subsequent likelihood of reaching critical mass for adoption of a particular service offering. This is requisite in making these services economically viable. As an example, a remittances company in one of the countries in Africa introduced a service that enabled diaspora population to remit funds specifically for food stuff to be collected in the receiving country. There has also been adoption of digital financial services by government entities to reach non-urban population.
Increased demand for digital services has further resulted in more competition within the sector. This is necessary for innovation, product differentiation and lowering of prices. Customer experience is subsequently improved as competitors jostle for market share.
To come full circle, the regulatory framework needs to keep pace with the growth in penetration ratios and potential product proliferation. Together with the service providers, authorities have an obligation to ensure that digitalisation still addresses the traditional risks inherent in financial transactions – money laundering, cyber security risks and funding of terrorism, to name a few. An enabling environment from policy makers is also needed to accelerate financial inclusion by specifically targeting technology costs, electricity connectivity and literacy, both digital and financial.
Multilateral institutions are placing high priority in encouraging growth and penetration of digital services. The main focus has been through the spearheading initiatives aimed at setting of policy guidelines that help the global economy use financial inclusion to aid broad development agenda including financial services penetration, stimulating post-pandemic economic recovery and addressing gender inequality. Mobile financial solutions, as an example, have been shown to be more effective in bridging the gender equality gap than traditional banking products.
The impact of digital financial inclusion especially in countries with low financial penetration cannot be underestimated. Coordination between policymakers and industry players and a broader global alignment has the potential to buttress the turnaround from the effects of the global pandemic and accelerate the path to more inclusive and more equal societies. Deepening of the digital ecosystem within markets creates analogous data to traditional financial and credit metrics. However, there is the added advantage of inclusion of the unbanked segments of the economy and allowing for the provision of 2nd tier services such as short term credit facilities to that segment. This is one of the important channels that has the potential of transforming the lives of low income and rural households and enjoin them to the more formal economy.
The advent of digital financial services cannot be attributed to necessity. However, the global Covid19 pandemic has certainly catalysed its adoption and penetration and played a part in advancing financial inclusion especially in developing countries where traditional banking channels have limited roll out and reach. Further, the digital financial services sector is proving essential in addressing the much needed broad-based economic turnaround with the promise of a sustainable contribution from here on.Nov 24, 2020- The global Covid19 pandemic has, along with the catastrophic loss of life, had an adverse and far-reaching impact on the global economy, last seen a century ago. The contagiousness of the virus has forced a change in behaviour, most notably, social distancing, to curtail its exponential spread. Consequently, there has been an increase in the […]
- Future of Payments
The future of payments
There has been an incredibly high mobile penetration in emerging markets over the last decade. Previously marginalised people can therefore now access financial services using mobile wallets offered by Telco’s as a result. People can perform person to person, person to merchant, person to agent transactions with mobile banking. These mobile wallets enable easier, safer, quicker, cheaper and more reliable money transfers over a long distance.
Current solutions and Challenges faced
One of the main issues being experienced with the telco based mobile wallets is the lack of interoperability between wallets. In its most complete form, interoperability refers to interconnection across an array of use cases, including transfers between mobile money accounts or mobile money and bank accounts, both domestically and internationally. Currently, a user is only able to send funds to someone on the same mobile network as theirs or their own bank account. This leaves people with an option to either carry around different sim cards or move money from wallet to bank before they can transfer it to another person.
Generally, people in emerging markets are still very cash-based in thinking and prefer face to face interaction when making payments or sending money. This mentality has offered some resistance to the growth of penetration of mobile wallets in most places. In South Africa, for example, the products that have gained household status are those offered by banks which only allow someone to use their mobile wallet to receive money and collect at an ATM. The telco run initiatives that tried to replicate m-pesa or m-pesa itself have run into challenges in this market.
Another issue impeding the penetration of more innovative digital offerings in Africa is the availability and affordability of connectivity to the internet. The bulk of African mobile transactions are compatible with feature phones and do not require internet connectivity or NFC. The successful offerings have mostly been feature phone compatible, using the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) protocol. It is, however, promising to note that high levels of up to 50% penetration of internet-enabled devices and the internet itself have been recorded in the last decade, for most of Sub Saharan Africa as of mid-2019.
In countries like Zimbabwe, the cost of transacting on mobile wallets has been a big issue, with service providers charging up to 4% fees for peer-to-peer transactions, including tax. Due to the high demand for cash in that country, unscrupulous merchants can charge a premium of no less than 30% for a cash-out. This has fuelled the resistance to mobile money payments with people opting for cash.
Plastic money will probably be around for a while, but future solutions will find a way to integrate this very efficient way of processing payments and the new age of digital money. There will be a move from face-to-face transactions to the use of mobile devices to settle financial obligations. Companies like Visa have already started rolling out wearable devices with payment capabilities.
The new and growing trend is tokenisation, for instance, a blockchain token is issued that digitally represents a real tradeable asset. There is still a need to facilitate collaboration with regulators in this space if the full potential of this technology is to be realised. This technology or token economy represents a shift from the large centralised trust agents to the individual, with cryptology doing away with the need for third-party intermediaries by enforcing trust. Institutions experimenting with tokenisation have started issuing tokens that are either limited to a specific device, or e-commerce merchant, or a limited number of transactions. The need for seamless and secure digital payment transactions remains crucial, and tokenisation is being considered to introduce frictionless card-free payments in e-commerce environments.
Future solutions are expected to be digital-based and have increased security and interaction. New solutions are already being built on cryptographic technology in the backend, which ensures high-level security, and using encrypted social media platforms like WhatsApp in the frontend for increased interaction through a chatbot, e.g. Uhuruwallet.
Developed countries are already making use of super apps which house all essential services under one application for ease of use and payment e.g. WeChat.
The concept of the internet of money is likely to go mainstream in the coming years. Forward-thinking central banks have started exploring the option for issuing a blockchain-based Central bank digital currency (CBDC). This can potentially disrupt the whole banking sector as the central bank becomes deposit-taking and therefore transaction clearing, for individuals, not only financial institutions. Blockchain ledgers will be the natural choice when this is implemented due to their immutability, auditability and KYC compliance capability.
Whatever the case, it appears a cashless society is becoming a reality each day through various forms of electronic money services being offered. The first hurdle is to make the process of in-person digital transactions easy and secure. A more practical approach is to break down the issue into smaller solutions, for instance solving a practical problem like how to split the restaurant bill digitally. Africa looks ready for the disruption, with some already experiencing it.Feb 20, 2020- The future of payments Introduction There has been an incredibly high mobile penetration in emerging markets over the last decade. Previously marginalised people can therefore now access financial services using mobile wallets offered by Telco’s as a result. People can perform person to person, person to merchant, person to agent transactions with mobile banking. […]
What people are saying about uhuru
This is awesome, DStv payments had become such a headache. I can’t wait for the full features to be added.
A product for Africans by Africans, convenient and very easy to use. Now we can include more people into the formal economy.
A very timely service. A much-needed convenience that has come through for me when most needed. I appreciate the efficiency and security of Uhuru. #FreedomOfPay
- Future of Payments