According to a 2017/18 Uganda Communications Commission report, approximately 23.2 million Ugandans have access to mobile phones, an indication that half of Uganda’s population that constitutes about 44 million people has access to mobile phones.
With the continued growth in the uptake of mobile technology driven solutions across industries and sectors worldwide and adoption of infrastructure to support this technology, there is ardent need for different players to continue inventing and innovating solutions that can deliver products and services via mobile.
In the last decade, we have witnessed the collaborative efforts between the telecommunications and banking sectors to promote financial inclusion.. In this convergence, FinTechs and Telecommunications service providers offer the infrastructure while Software developers and Banks provide the platform and systems to make financial services through mobile devices possible. It is therefore safe to say that convergence is a key ingredient for successfully including the rural Uganda, financially.
According to Mrs. Beatrice Lugalambi the General Manager Corporate Communications and Marketing at Centenary Bank, there is continued need for collaborative efforts geared towards bridging the financial inclusion gap especially for the unbanked population in rural areas who have limited access to banking services. . This may require significant investment in mobile technology and related aspects.
To reach the unbanked population in the country, Financial Institutions and Telecommunications service providers need to invest in mobile solutions intended to ease access to services that offer better banking experiences and at relatively a cheaper cost to Ugandans. While some players in the industry have taken some initiatives to bridge the financial inclusion gap, there has been low penetration and uptake of the services is still slow for most people, especially due to low awareness levels across the board.
According to a report published by the East African Development Bank in May 2019, (add the name of the report) in Uganda, formal financial inclusion has increased from 21% in 2006 to 58% in 2018, of which only 11% of the population use commercial banks, compared to 56% of the population that use mobile financial services.
“For this reason, Centenary Bank launched a customer reward campaign whose aim is to educate and create awareness among its over. 1.8 million customers, on the availability of digital banking channels set up by the bank,” Lugalambi explained, adding that, “Our country has a young population according to statistics by Uganda Bureau of Statistics and we believe that if the youth embrace and use these channels including the CenteVisa card, agency banking and mobile banking platform, financial inclusion can be achieved through them to their wider families in rural Uganda in a shorter time.”
A phone being a device that is part of one’s day-to-day life, therefore bridges the financial inclusion gap by bringing the bank to hands of the customer so that they can carry out transactions anywhere, and at any time, in a safe and convenient way.