Partnership to focus on digitally connecting hundreds of thousands of farmers across Uganda
Yo-Uganda Limited (“Yo!”), a 16-year-old leading financial technology solutions provider based in Kampala, Uganda, has announced a new grant partnership with the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) to roll out Mastercard Farmer Network – a digital agriculture solution that digitizes marketplaces, payments and workflows within the agriculture sector.
The platform provides a digital marketplace for buyers who are looking for sustainable sources of quality produce at favourable market prices and a place for small-holder farmers to access reliable markets and fair prices.
USADF supports African-led community enterprises by providing seed capital and technical support. The grant partnership will provide seed funding of up to $250,000 over a 24-month period.
Yo! will be leading the implementation teams on ground to roll out a customized version of Mastercard Farmer Network, tightly integrated with Yo!’s payments infrastructure countrywide. Over the next two years, Yo! will work in close collaboration with the USADF and Mastercard to reach out to and include 300,000 farmers across Uganda into the digital ecosystem.
The aim of the partnership is to create permanent links between key stakeholders in the agriculture sector, which serves as the largest employer in the Ugandan economy. It will create a one-stop digital marketplace, advancing digital inclusion and fostering wealth creation for both individuals and communities.
The implementation of this digital technology will also help bring more visibility to supply chains and help move farmers away from unreliable and risky cash-based interactions.
“At Mastercard, we remain committed to digital and financial inclusion of the rural communities in Uganda. Our partnership with USADF and Yo Uganda will help significantly advance digitalization efforts in the agriculture sector, improving the livelihoods of farming communities, growing agri-based micro, small and medium sized businesses (MSMEs) and reducing the prevalence of cash transactions in Uganda,” said Daniel Huba, Vice President, Humanitarian and Development.
“Our partnership with USADF and Mastercard is a critical continuation of our strategic initiative to digitize operations and financial transactions in the agriculture sector of Uganda. Since 2015, we have heavily invested in partnerships to see that our services get extended to this sector, the largest contributor to Uganda’s GDP.” said Gerald Begumisa, Managing Director of Yo!
The partnership is expected to lead to the on-boarding and training of 300 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) on how to access and utilize the Mastercard Farmer Network solution.
In order to create a permanent link between the FPOs and the farmers who will be on boarded, Yo! will recruit and train 600 Digital Champions from the FPOs to serve as digital change agents within the communities to propel the uptake and usage of digital solutions. 40 medium to large agri-buyers are also expected to be on-boarded onto the service.
About Yo-Uganda Limited
Yo-Uganda Limited (“Yo!”), incorporated in January 2006, is a leading Financial Technology Solutions Provider based in Uganda. Yo! develops solutions geared at delivering significant operational benefits to its customers such as increased efficiency in processes, reduced costs, accelerated growth, and increased profitability.
Our solutions leverage various mobile platforms such us Mobile Money, SMS, USSD, and IVR to deliver value to our customers. For example, our solutions enable some of the largest businesses in Uganda to accept mobile money payments through points of sale devices, mobile applications, or the web.
Over the past six (6) years, Yo! has made significant strides in providing its digital payments and allied solutions and services within agricultural value chains throughout Uganda through various interventions and partnerships which have seen tens of thousands of farmers and their communities impacted by digital interventions. More available at:
About the United States Africa Development Foundation
The U.S. African Development Foundation is an independent U.S. government agency established by Congress to invest directly in African grassroots enterprises and social entrepreneurs. USADF’s investments increase incomes, revenues, and jobs by promoting self-reliance and market-based solutions to poverty. USADF creates pathways to prosperity for marginalized populations and underserved communities in the Sahel, Great Lakes, and the Horn of Africa.
More available at: https://www.usadf.gov/
Yo! Uganda is proud to have been one of the main sponsors of the just concluded FITSPA conference and exhibition. The event, which took place on 8th September 2021 was themed around: ‘Building a Safe and Regulated Ecosystem’.
As well as the 163 members of FITSPA, the conference brought together FinTech players from the East African region, and across Africa.
One of the stated goals of the Financial Technology Service Providers Association of Uganda (FITSPA) is to bring together the FinTech community in Uganda and encourage open dialogue.
Yo! Uganda Limited is a registered member of the association and our MD, Gerald Begumisa is a member of the FITSPA Board of Directors.
FinTech is the application of technology to products and services in the financial industry. Businesses are constantly carrying out a range of financial operations. There are payments to be processed, financial records to be kept, and client transactions that must be handled speedily and securely.
In order to efficiently deliver services to their clients, companies are on the lookout for solutions that are convenient, safe, and simple to use. This is where financial technology (Fintech) comes in.
Fintech has evolved from its beginnings in computer technology to making use of the internet revolution and more recently powering mobile devices to take care of personal finance.
In Uganda, as in many developing countries, Fintech offers an opportunity for greater financial inclusion reaching individuals that traditional banking has historically struggled to reach.
Yo! Involvement in the Fintech Space
Yo Uganda Limited has been involved in the FinTech space for more than 10 years and is a winner of several industry innovation awards.
We were the first company to launch and profitably operate a multipurpose mobile payments aggregation service, having launched our payment platform in February 2011. Our aggregation systems have continued to offer SMS and USSD services to organizations in and outside Uganda.
With innovations that have introduced a number of services and products to Uganda’s FinTech space, we are able to serve a wide range of industries.
Numerous organizations are using our services to securely and conveniently disburse funds directly to the mobile money wallets of multiple beneficiaries. Since 2015 we have been involved in digitizing agricultural value chains in Uganda.
Statement on Sponsorship
Sponsoring events such as the FITSPA conference and exhibition reiterates our commitment to developing the FinTech industry in Uganda and Africa.
For more details on the just concluded FITSPA conference and exhibition: FITSPA Conference 2021
Yo! Uganda Participates in the 1st NECDCA 2022
Yo! Uganda Limited is presenting at the 1st National Empowerment & Development in Commercial Agriculture Conference 2022 (NEDCA) in Kampala from today Thursday 8th December until Friday 9th December. Yo! is participating as a silver sponsor at the event.
This timely conference seeks to provide remedies to some of the principal challenges facing the agricultural sector.
Uganda’s agricultural sector
According to World Trade Organization, investors consider Uganda’s agricultural potential to be among the best in Africa, with low-temperature variability, fertile soils, and two rainy seasons over much of the country – leading to multiple crop harvests per year. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, Uganda’s fertile agricultural land has the potential to feed 200 million people. The UBOS estimates that about 70% of Uganda’s working population is employed in agriculture.
Despite all these invigorating statistics, Sector growth is also impaired by the lack of quality packaging capabilities, insufficient storage facilities, poor post-harvest handling practices, shortage of agricultural credit, high freight costs, the lack of all-weather feeder roads in rural areas, the complicated and inefficient land tenure system, and limited knowledge of modern production practices.
FinTech in Agriculture
FinTech has a key role to play in supporting agriculture’s contribution to economic growth and poverty reduction. The use of FinTech in agriculture can help to digitize and connect the entire agricultural industry and provide transparency to all participants throughout the supply chain. The result is a closer relationship between producers, buyers, lenders, and insurers while at the same time lowering risks on loans and opening up liquidity channels to flow faster, more easily, and with better terms.
Yo! Uganda is committed to providing solutions to some of the challenges within the sector. Over the last few years, we have been involved in agricultural projects in partnership with UNCDF and MasterCard.
For more details about this and other FinTech projects we’re undertaking, visit our booth at the #NEDCA2022 taking place from today Thursday 8th to Friday 9th December at the UICT Grounds, Nakawa.
Yo! Uganda Limited has been granted a Payment System Operator License by the Bank of Uganda. The license issuance comes after Yo!’s successful fulfillment of the requirements under the Large Funds Transfer System Class of the National Payment Systems Regulations, 2021.
Among the provisions of the National Payment Systems Act, 2020 is a requirement for all payment system operators to apply for and qualify for licensing after having satisfied a meticulous process applied by the Central Bank.
The National Payment Systems Act, 2020
The National Payment Systems Act, 2020 followed the National Payment Systems policy which was approved by the Cabinet of Uganda in December 2017. The policy put in place the framework around which the Payment System Law was enacted.
The National Payment Systems (“NPS”) Act was passed by Parliament in May 2020, and assented to by the President on 29th July 2020 and is therefore the law governing and regulating payment systems in Uganda.
Mobile Money was first launched in Uganda in 2009 and has since been the main digital financial services platform. As well as the mobile money service providers, players in the mobile money network include issuers of payment instruments and issuers of electronic money. Although the industry was previously regulated through the Mobile Money Guidelines of 2013, passing of this law was aimed at increasing the safety and efficiency of payments systems operations by providing a legal basis to ensure compliance from all service providers and operators.
“At Yo!, we see the passing of the NPS Act, 2020 and the grant of our license by Bank of Uganda as a major validation and endorsement of our innovative and then-futuristic Payment Gateway service, Yo! Payments, that we pioneered back in 2010.” says Gerald Begumisa, Managing Director and Founder of Yo!.
“We are very thankful to our customers for trusting our service right from the start. We also consider ourselves fortunate to operate in an environment where the regulator, Bank of Uganda, has taken an approach to establish regulations and guidelines which allow new innovations time to grow and thrive”, he adds.
What this means for Yo!
Being regulated under the auspices of the Bank of Uganda within the prescripts of a license means that every customer transacting via the Yo Payments platform can do so with a new level of TRUST. The license merely validated Yo!’s impeccable track record with regards to the security and reliability of its technical platforms.
The issuing of licenses means that going forward only licensed Payment Operators will be allowed to provide payment and aggregation services, which in turn will boost confidence in the market and allow the mobile money ecosystem to grow to fulfill its real potential.
Yo! looks forward to working with and integrating with the other licensed financial institutions in Uganda to further democratize the financial system in Uganda
Yo-Uganda Limited (“Yo!”), incorporated in January 2006, is a leading technology company based in Uganda. Yo! leverages various mobile platforms to deliver payments solutions to financial institutions, large and small businesses and individuals.
Yo! was the first company to launch and profitably operate a multipurpose mobile payments aggregation service in Uganda, Yo! Payments, in 2010, and has continued to be at the forefront of developing financial technology solutions for business.
Through its Yo! Payments platform, the company provides full support for Mobile Money services including integrations with several banks, utilities and customers wishing to make and accept payments through all mobile networks currently active in Uganda. Apart from mobile money, other mobile platforms leveraged include SMS, USSD and IVR enabling businesses accept payments through Point of Sale devices, Mobile Applications (Apps) and web transactions.
Fintech in Uganda
Digital financial services present tremendous opportunities for the Ugandan business environment to provide high quality, reliable and affordable financial products and services. This is especially necessary for the large number of unbanked and underbanked people whose access to financial services is impeded by the limited spread of banks across the country.
In a recent announcement, Yo! unveiled plans to reach out to and include 300,000 farmers across Uganda into the digital ecosystem through a $250,000 grant partnership with United States African Development Foundation (USADF) and Mastercard, Inc.
“Initiatives such as our digital agriculture solution are important in achieving financial inclusion for more Ugandans,” said Lawrence Totimeh, Head of Business and Service Delivery at Yo! “With the regulatory environment instilling more confidence to the consumer, we shall have greater participation and willingness for more people to take advantage of digital financial services and move away from the riskier cash based transactions.”, he adds.