Somalia’s first innovative fintech app launches 

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Hormuud, Somalia’s largest telecommunications provider, has announced the launch of the country’s first indigenous mobile money application. Titled, WAAFI, the fintech app provides Somalians with access to a range of digital financial services all within a single and easy-to-use platform. 

Somalia’s first fintech app WAAFI has launched

Speaking on the announcement, Hormuud CEO and Chairman Ahmed Mohammed Yuusuf comments on the roll-out of the country’s first fintech mobile application. 

“Somalia is a unique example of a country where digital adoption is widespread among all age ranges and demographics. We are continuing to see a move towards a position where Somalia can claim to be the world’s first truly cashless economy, and the rollout of WAAFI is an important step on that journey. Providing businesses and customers with more efficient technology is going to be a driving force behind the development of the Somali economy and its integration with the wider international community.”

The WAAFI app

The app leverages off and upgrades from the existing USSD technology that many individuals in Somali use. According to reports, USSD-enabled mobile money technology is widespread in Somalia, with penetration rates as high as 80% in urban areas and 55% in rural areas.

WAAFI aims to be an enabler for new value chains and new business models in the country by eliminating inefficiencies such as typing an incorrect number during a USSD transaction. 

According to reports, 95% of the Somali shilling in circulation is counterfeit but WAAFI aims to target this as it encourages cashless transactions with its in-country bank transfer feature.

The app also aims to facilitate contactless transactions as businesses in Somali can generate QR Codes that enable WAAFI users to directly pay digitally. 

Abdulaziz Mohamed Nurani, the founder of Tik, a premier men’s fashion retailer explains how the app has positively impacted his business.

“The WAAFI app has transformed how I do business. Having important digital services all housed under one app makes it easier to pay my employees and trace transactions quickly. Even when I’m abroad or cannot be physically present, with this app I can check on my business and address any problems. Operating throughout the pandemic, this app has allowed me to keep my customers and my employees safe. With contactless payments, we can reduce physical contact and the spread of the virus in our communities. “

WAAFI (Supplied)

WAAFI features

The following details on the features of the app are indicated below: 

  • Access to a bank account either by depositing or withdrawing money via a mobile wallet (EVC Plus)
  • Access to an account balance online
  • Carry out bank transfers from bank-to-bank within the country
  • Debit and Credit card management. WAAFI users can link their debit/credit cards with to their app to load money from their bank accounts to their WAAFI wallet
  • International Remittance
  • Family members and friends in the diaspora can send money directly to the mobile phones of their recipients in Somalia
  • WAAFI users in Somalia can also send money abroad
  • Conduct international calls
  • WAAFI users in the diaspora can recharge their WAAFI app and call individuals in Somalia even if they are not WAAFI users.
  • In-app chatting, enabling users to chat with other WAAFI app users. With just $5 recharge users can get at over 100 mins of calls to Somalia from abroad
  • Access to an internal WAAFI helpdesk.

The app is available for download on both iOs and Android devices. 

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Featured image: Anaya Katlego via Unsplash 

Ishani Chetty: Editor
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