• Purpose

Africa, here we come!

13 March 2023

Our recently appointed President of JUMO, Joe Mucheru has worn many hats over his career. These include 90s tech entrepreneur to Google executive and then ICT and Youth Cabinet Secretary. In all these roles, he has seen first-hand the benefits of fintech in empowering people and enriching communities – one of the many reasons he has chosen to join JUMO. 

It is clear to me that Africa’s fintech industry is coming of age with companies of all shapes and sizes making it their business to enhance and augment traditional financial services. This is especially true for JUMO, a company revolutionising the lending space in Africa, connecting entrepreneurs and individuals to the financial products they need to grow and prosper.

SMEs are the driving force of economic development in Africa. They account for 95% of all businesses, 80% of employment and 33% of GDP across the continent. Yet a persistent financing gap of more than $330bn per year has meant African SMEs have in too many cases had to grow without access to credit. Despite their importance, many SMEs are unable to reach their full potential owing to the severe capital constraints they face.

Imagine, for example, an informal trader selling roasted maize (a traditional Kenyan snack) on the roadside. They likely won’t have a bank account, or proof of employment, and they certainly don’t receive a pay slip. Without these, it is very difficult to show demands for goods or prove the ability to repay a loan. Accessing traditional credit is almost impossible, and the trader is forced to turn to other sources of finance. At best, from family or friends. At worst, from predatory lenders.

Limited record keeping, inadequate ‘know your customer’ details, and proximity to financial institutions are common challenges for SMEs in Africa. With traditional lending infrastructure tailored to large corporates and wealthy individuals, small businesses can seldom send strong demand signals to commercial capital.

The need for reliable and fair finance will only grow in 2023, as the global economy contracts and SMEs’ battle with rampant inflation.

That’s why organisations like JUMO have never been more important for protecting livelihoods, facilitating financial inclusion, and driving economic growth. And that is why I was delighted to join the company at the end of January. 

JUMO connects investors’ and partners capital with the millions of entrepreneurs who are working every day to build their businesses. The company has built an intelligent platform that enables credit providers to reach millions of SMEs and micro-SMEs with credit and savings products, increasing capital choices so businesses can thrive. The platform’s advanced data engine runs machine learning algorithms on millions of mobile wallet, cellphone, and transaction data signals every second. Insights gleaned from this data are used to build increasingly accurate credit profiles for people across Africa, ensuring strong governance and accurate real time reporting.

With Kenya’s Central Bank recently issuing a digital lending licence to JUMO, it has never been a more exciting time to join an organisation, which is both helping capital providers make attractive returns and supporting measurable impact on the continent.  

I am also delighted to engage great partners within the JUMO ecosystem, through them and with them JUMO has the potential to reach almost everyone on the African continent and beyond. Together we are transforming Africa, one loan at a time.

Last, but not least, of the many reasons I’ve joined JUMO is the people we call JUMOnauts. They’re a dedicated, talented team of people, committed to the ultimate mission of transforming livelihoods using appropriate technology at scale. Together with our founder and CEO Andrew Watkins-Ball, and our world class board of directors we make quite a team.

Connect with Joe