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Kenya-based fintech, Pezesha was announced as the first prize winner in the 2020 AFI Inclusive FinTech Showcase for its leading innovation in financial inclusion.
Kenya-based fintech, Pezesha won first prize in the 2020 AFI Inclusive FinTech Showcase
The fintech offers a digital platform that allows micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) the opportunity to be linked with investors such as banks, microfinance intuitions, and retail lenders that are looking to drive MSMEs productivity and growth.
In an official press release, Hilda Moraa, founder and CEO of Pezesha comments on the fintech startup’s participation in helping MSMEs across sub-Saharan Africa.
“We are tackling the $328-billion financing gap for MSMEs across sub-Saharan Africa … and the more than 50 million businesses that have been excluded and underserved.”
The 2020 AFI Inclusive FinTech Showcase allows fintech startups that utilise groundbreaking technology to address financial inclusion by developing innovative financial services targeted at underbanked communities.
The showcase is an initiative operating under the 2018 Sochi Accord with AFI’s membership that aims to participate in systemic dialogue-driven platforms and partnerships with fintech firms and technology providers that regulate policies.
In November, 12 fintech finalists were selected for the 2020 AFI Inclusive FinTech Showcase. The finalists were invited to present their innovative solutions that address the consequences of Covid-19 and contribute to the future of financial inclusivity.
The top three winners of the showcase were announced and will participate in the AFI’s Public-Private Dialogue platform and receive a one-year membership to Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT).
Pezesha focuses on underserved markets in Sub-Saharan Africa and aims to assist MSMEs in reaching their needed capital to ensure growth in their businesses.
Pezesha produces credit scores collected from supplies and partners through alternative transactional data. The credit scores allow partners to access credit to purchase any additional inventory.
Moraa explains the benefits of the credit scores that are financed by investors who use algorithms to allow risk diversification and lending to secured MSMEs.
“Everyone benefits in our value chain ecosystem: lenders can optimize their capital; suppliers can increase their network of merchants, and merchants can grow their inventory.”
Pezesha encourages MSMEs to use the platform to expand their knowledge on how to increase credit scores through digital platforms and how to improve their digital presence. In addition, the fintech provides tools for customers to safely expand their business.
Pezesha, launched in 2017 has reportedly connected over 20 000 youth MSMEs to working capital which resulted in the creation of over 1 000 formal sector jobs and 5 000 informal sector jobs.
In addition, since its launch, Pezesha funded over 75 000 loans to MSMEs, educated more than 200 000 MSMEs, and disbursed over $2 million throughout Kenya.
Pezesha has partnered with Google, PesaPoint, Mastercard, and Letshego with the aim of expanding its reach to include people with disabilities and victims of gender-based violence.
Top three winning fintechs
A France-based multinational technology company, Idemia was awarded second place in the 2020 AFI Inclusive FinTech Showcase. The tech startup assists low-income and vulnerable communities through its platform that makes use of digital identification that supports the disbursement of funds and includes government subsidies.
Idemia’s platform creates digital identities by implementing biometric data which includes facial and fingerprint identification. Digital identities enable access to a range of financial services, including branchless banking.
A Kenya-based social enterprise, Arifu positioned third in the Showcase. The social enterprise consists of a smart personal learning assistant and content marketplace. Arifu operates through mobile phones via SMS, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger and provides advice and financial skills training to vulnerable groups such as farmers, youth, women, and MSMEs.
Users are able to gain insight into new skills, products, and services as well as have the opportunity to earn rewards through the platform. A reported 1.5 million people accessed Arifu’s services.
The top three finalists were selected to participate in AFI’s Public-Private Dialogue platform and awarded a one-year membership to Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT) that will provide practical training, education, and research services for the FinTech community.
The startups that did not place in the top three but were selected for the top 12 included:
Featured Image: Pezesha, Facebook