The concept of financial inclusion and its role in economic development was highlighted at the October 26, 2017 launch of the Uganda National Financial Inclusion Strategy. Small and medium-sized enterprises have been shown to account for the creation of significant numbers of new jobs and are therefore major contributors to economic growth.
But a vulnerable society of people – refugees from Uganda’s conflict-ridden neighbors also deserve access to, and use of, sustainable financial services.
To solve this, Equity Bank Uganda and The United Nations Capital Development Fund have this week showcased the technology, process and applicability of this solution in Uganda at the Kampala Serena hotel through their biometric card solutions that will enable secure electronic cash transfer to refugees.
Equity Bank Uganda and UNCDF are partners in driving financial inclusion in Uganda under a program called MM4P – Mobile Money for the Poor.
Currently, refugees have to resort to paying extortionately high fees for sending and receiving money, which limits their ability to access aid from the international agencies, be financial stable and start up small new businesses. Equity Bank executive director Anthony Kituuka believes real innovation can come through utilising Equity Bank biometric card solutions making it easy to send and receive money at minimal costs.
Already a big success in Kenya and Rwanda, Equity Bank is the first to go to market with this innovative solution in Uganda delivering last mile distributions & enabling a transition from humanitarian response to development. They are working with other big players like World Bank and Financial Sector Deepening.
Equity Bank in Kenya is currently running a program called the national hunger safety net program with 420,000 beneficiaries with total funds disbursed at 4.79 billion Kenya shillings.
Equity Bank is giving refugees the tools they need to increase their resilience & the development partners efficient and transparent solutions for cash transfers.
This system will be scaled using the agency banking model, currently launched with support from UNCDF. The entry and fast penetration of mobile money services have addressed poor connectivity by accessing geographically hard-to-reach areas that the formal banking institutions could not. The country’s two biggest telecos; MTN Uganda and Airtel are also involved.
“Helping refugees across the region to have better access to banking services shows how much commitment Equity Bank has towards the community it works in.” Mr. Kituuka explained during the Tuesday showcase at Kampala Serena Hotel.
“Refugees are really entrepreneurs that is why we see an opportunity in them. We believe we can only grow Africa by reaching the common person. That is the reason we have retail branches in Democratic Republic of Congo.” He added.
“We want to hear our refugees saying Equity Bank is the best bank,” Allan Waititu, Equity Bank Director special projects, said. “We want to deal with the aged, orphans and elders. We want to be the best bank with social inclusion.”