• Platform

How fintech partnerships can drive financial inclusion

22 February 2024

As the Chief Financial Services Officer for MTN Mobile Money, Bradwin Roper is a visionary in expanding financial services in South Africa, particularly through the innovative platform of MoMo (Mobile Money). Bradwin delves into the synergy between MTN Mobile Money and JUMO, and how their partnership is setting a new standard for delivering financial services in South Africa.

This partnership is a testament to the power of collaboration, where technology meets empathy, and the ultimate winners are the people of South Africa.

Imagine a world where access to financial services isn’t a privilege, but a right. Where even those in remote areas can send money, build credit, and unlock opportunities through their mobile phones. This is the future South Africa is striving for, and this partnership between MTN and JUMO is paving the way.

As a child, I witnessed first-hand the challenges of financial exclusion, and the struggle for access resonates deeply with me. My childhood memories are filled with instances where I helped my grandmother, a domestic worker, navigate the seemingly complex world of ATMs. This sparked a determination in me to dismantle the barriers to financial inclusion.

Fast forward to today, and I’m actively helping to bridge the gap. As the Chief Financial Services Officer for MTN Mobile Money (MoMo), I am proud to be part of a movement making significant strides towards democratising financial access by providing essential financial tools to millions. Yet, millions more remain unbanked.

This is where fintech partnerships play a game-changing role. In our collaboration with JUMO, we combine MoMo’s extensive reach with JUMO’s AI-powered scoring models and banking technology, reaching those typically excluded from traditional lending. Qwikloan, our joint brainchild, offers affordable, short-term mobile loans, bypassing the need for smartphones or extensive credit history.

Perfect partnerships, not perfect products

Think about the evolution from ATMs to cellphone banking, leading to online banking, then app banking, and ultimately the mobile money revolution. The traditional mindset of companies was centered around creating the perfect product. It was all about developing the best app or the finest product. The current global trend, however, is shifting towards forming perfect partnerships. It’s about identifying what’s missing in your arsenal and enhancing your capabilities through collaborative relationships.

Our collaboration with JUMO is a perfect example of how recognising our strengths and weaknesses can lead to significant achievements. JUMO’s advanced technology and scoring models, combined with MTN’s extensive distribution channels and user base, enable us to reach and impact millions of lives.

Qwikloan is more than just a loan service; it represents dignity and empowerment for millions, without the need for smartphones or a comprehensive credit history. This service is available even on basic feature phones, ensuring that no one is left behind due to technological limitations.

This synergy unlocks tremendous potential:

  • Reaching the unbanked: Qwikloan, accessible via both smartphones and feature phones, bypasses infrastructure limitations, reaching even the most remote areas.
  • Building credit history: Previously credit-invisible individuals can now build a positive credit profile, opening doors to future opportunities.
  • Unlocking digital inclusion: Access to loans can help purchase smartphones, fuelling further financial and digital inclusion.

This partnership seems glaringly obvious, prompting the question: why hasn’t it happened already? This strategy departs from the traditional “ownership” mindset to a more collaborative one, focusing on outcomes where the customer ultimately benefits. It demands a unique skill set that blends business-to-business and business-to-consumer strategies, coupled with engineering solutions that provide value for all involved. In this case, the combined expertise of JUMO and MTN, along with our understanding of the institutional landscape, positions us to address the needs of the 15 to 20% of customers who have historically been overlooked.

The future of financial inclusion

Financial inclusion isn’t only about access to capital; it’s about empowerment and dignity. We believe everyone deserves a modern, connected life. That’s why we’re committed to financial literacy initiatives, equipping individuals with the knowledge and confidence to navigate the digital financial landscape. Imagine millions of South Africans, like my grandmother, wielding financial tools with ease, building credit profiles and taking control of their economic destinies. That’s the South Africa we’re striving for.

Qwikloan, with its potential to impact millions, embodies this mission. The road ahead is filled with exciting possibilities. We envision:

  • Bridging the smartphone gap: Affordable loan options like Qwikloan can empower individuals to purchase smartphones, accelerating digital inclusion.
  • Financial literacy: Educating and empowering millions on safe and responsible use of financial tools is crucial.
  • Local content: Tailoring financial and digital solutions to local languages and needs will foster wider adoption.

Our primary aim is to uplift people by ensuring they have access to the benefits of a modern, connected life. This aligns perfectly with the shared vision of MTN South Africa and JUMO, forming the core of our mission. It’s about more than just connectivity; it’s about extending dignity to everyone.

This collaboration is taking a significant step forward by providing previously marginalised or overlooked communities with access to credit. Essentially, we’re enabling a transformation in how individuals engage with the world. Partnerships like ours are catalysts for societal transformation, and Qwikloan is a testament to the belief that everyone deserves the dignity of choice, control and the opportunity to prosper. By working together, we can rewrite the narrative, ensuring that financial inclusion becomes a reality for all South Africans.

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