9th December, 2014
Contact: Daniel Odinga|Uganda Program Coordinator| Agri-Fin Mobile|Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kampala, Uganda – Mercy Corps Uganda through its Agri-Fin Mobile Program announced its partnership with Ensibuuko to improve efficiency in the operation of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) and increasing access of financial services and information to smallholder farmers. The mobile banking and information system will integrate mobile tools such as mobile money, sms and USSD into customized banking platform and enable SACCOs to efficiently deliver affordable and tailored financial services to smallholder farmers while effectively managing their information. For the last one year, they were previously at Outbox Hub in Kampala, a tech hub that supports start-ups with mentorship, shared office space and training programs.
“Our partnership with Ensibuuko will provide a solid management system to the SACCOs as a means to safeguard farmers' money and providing them with a banking history which allows them to get to the next level of financial inclusion” said Carol Kakooza, Agri-Fin Mobile Program Director. “The solution itself reduces on transaction cost for the farmers by bringing the power of transactions to their palms through mobile” she added.
With a population of over 35milliion in Uganda ,only 1.5million have access to formal financial accounts with the banking industry while 84% of the population living in the rural areas with 80% dependent on Agriculture and would require finances in the Agricultural production. SACCOs for most of the part are proving to be strong drivers in delivering financial services to smallholder farmers but are limited due its operational structures and mistrust.
Mercy Corps and Ensibuuko have partnered to roll-out and pilot Ensibuuko’s Mobile Banking and Information System (MOBIS) to SACCOs in Northern Uganda and reaching over 10,000 smallholder farmers, the solution offers a unique opportunity to increase efficiency operations and information for and to its end clients. With a robust information system, a track record on transaction history for the farmers can be enhanced. Increasing access to information to the farmers through mobile is great tool in creating more trust and confidence with the SACCOs. Farmers would be able to deposit and receive loans through their phones, drastically reducing the time taken to reach the SACCOs, sms alerts for each transaction and key financial literacy messages to reinforce knowledge on financial services.
“We believe that SACCOs are an important vehicle for financial inclusion, by developing a customized core-banking solution and making it affordable for SACCOs, we are enhancing their efficiency to serve the rural poor in Uganda. Our solution is unlike no other solution; we have enriched it with mobile tools that enable SACCOs employ a cost-effective means to provide desired financial services to their clients. No matter how good our solution is, we need a reference point, a way to prove this concept hence our partnership with Mercy Corps is so timely. In 2015, over 20,000 rural farmers will benefit from this platform in Northern Uganda alone.” said Gerald Otim, Ensibuuko’s COO.
The partnership with Ensibuuko is part of Agri-Fin Mobile, a Mercy Corps-led initiative that is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The Agri-Fin Mobile program seeks to improve productivity and incomes among smallholder farmers through bundling essential agricultural information and financial services through strategic alliances with content providers, financial institutions, MNOs and third party platform providers.
About Mercy Corps: Mercy Corps helps people turn the crises they confront into the opportunities they deserve. Driven by local needs, our programs provide communities in the world’s toughest places with the tools and support they need to transform their own lives. Our worldwide team in over 40 countries is improving the lives of 19 million people. For more information, please visit www.mercycorps.org.