Now and then, people have emergencies and thus seek credit services. Ideally, loans should be affordable with reasonable payment terms.
But in the real market environment, most loans are very expensive; the interests are exorbitant, and the terms unrealistic. Money Lenders, mainly loan sharks exploit borrowers who usually don’t have any alternative.
To address these challenges, BlueTick Technologies developed Mikopo Nafuu; a digital platform aimed at democratizing loans through equipping borrowers with all the necessary information about credit service providers so that they can make informed choices.
On Day 39 of the 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative for Tanzania, we caught up with Nicholaus Ngolongolo, the Co-founder of BlueTick Technologies.
Here is the Mikopo Nafuu story as told by Nicholaus Ngolongolo.
HiPipo: What is your Financial Inclusion solution?
Nicholaus Ngolongolo: As BlueTick Technologies, we came up with a solution called Mikopo Nafuu which is a platform that regulates loan provision and gives leads to financial institutions. We have noticed that customers struggle when it comes to selecting the best financial product. When I say financial products I mean loans, credit, savings and some of insurances. They struggle to find the best products to use from what is on the market.
And sometimes they choose a product just based on what is available or because they have been referred by their friends and partners. Some of the credit products have a lot of hidden fees and high interest. Some are not even well-regulated.
When the loan officers visit them, they just accept these harsh conditions. For example, a loan officer will say we shall give you a loan of 500K but you will be 100K in interest, which is very high. So, borrowers end up paying a lot of charges and interest. These very expensive and unfair loans are very common in Tanzania.
It is from this background that we have come up with a solution which will help in regulating these lenders. We are chasing our license from the Bank of Tanzania (BOT) after which we shall register all financial providers on our platform and then assign each with a special code which every customer can refer to and check eligibility.
HiPipo: What market problem are you solving?
Nicholaus Ngolongolo: The problem that we are trying to solve is first transparency. Because customers are never given all the information they need before taking these loan products. We want to change this by ensuring that the customer gets all the required information before taking the loan. We are connecting multiple service providers so we give you all the available options and the benefits that each comes with. We give you a comparison from which you can choose what is suitable for you.
HiPipo: How does Mikopo Nafuu work?
Nicholaus Ngolongolo: We have built our platform based on two interfaces. A web application from which you can find all the services we offer. For example, we help you calculate everything about your loan; credit score, including loan fees, interest, repayment period, repayment amount and everything to expect. With this information, you can then apply and get a loan from several financial institutions. The second interface is a WhatsApp web chatbot. So, we built a boat which can interact with you and give you the same information as our website platform. You initiate the conversation with our webchat and from there, you will chat with our platform and it give you all the information regarding the loan you wish to get.
HiPipo: What is the state of FinTech Regulation in Tanzania?
Nicholaus Ngolongolo: FinTech regulations are there but I think some aspects have been missed. This has then created room for people to mistreat customers because they know they are ignorant about fees, interest and their rights. So, the regulation is there, but there are some missing parts. We as FinTechs believe we should partner with the regulators to ensure that all products are regulated and the regulation protects both the customers and innovators.
HiPipo: How does the 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative support your cause?
Nicholaus Ngolongolo: After these kinds of stories get out there, people start to that FinTechs are solving real problems. They see the role that innovators are playing and what needs to improve. 40 Days 40 FinTechs is a huge platform and I am quite sure that these engagements and episodes that are broadcasted will reach different stakeholders. We are not only building for Africa and thus this initiative helps us reach the wider African market. We also get to know the kind of products and solutions we are competing with.
Include EveryOne Program.
First implemented in Uganda, 40 Days 40 FinTechs is an annual FinTech Innovation initiative presented by HiPipo to recognize and celebrate individuals and organizations who are making significant strides in promoting financial inclusivity through the use of technology.
It is aimed at promoting innovation and collaboration among FinTechs in Africa. The initiative is designed to provide FinTechs and startups with mentorship, training, exposure, and networking opportunities to help them grow and scale their businesses.
40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative Tanzania is part of HiPipo’s broader Include EveryOne Program that is generously supported by the Gates Foundation and implemented in partnership with Level One Project, ICTC Tanzania, Ideation Corner, Cyber PLC Academy, INFITX, Crosslake Technologies, NG Films, Founders Academy and Mojaloop Foundation.
The Include EveryOne program is a beacon of acceleration of FinTech Innovation, empowerment for Women in FinTech and a catalyst for investment and development in the ICT sector. Minus 40 Days 40 FinTechs, other initiatives under the Include EveryOne Program are the FinTech Landscape Exhibition, Women in FinTech Hackathon, Summit and Incubator, Digital Impact Awards Africa and the Digital and Financial Inclusion Summit.
HiPipo is recognized as a premier advocate of digital Innovation and financial inclusion champion, a fervent proponent of the #LevelOneProject. HiPipo has been at the forefront, actively promoting digital innovation, Instant, Inclusive Payment Systems (IIPS), and DFS across Africa. With a legacy of advising, mobilizing, and facilitating the adoption of inclusive financial services, HiPipo’s efforts have been nothing short of transformative! For almost two decades, HiPipo has successfully facilitated the inclusive adoption of these crucial services.