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#40days40fintechs: Beyonic is at the centre of facilitating a shift to a cashless Uganda

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By Our writer

While Uganda started efforts to boost a cashless economy over a decade ago, majority of Ugandans still prefer cash.

Available statistics indicate that about 99 percent of the economy is cash-based and only 1 percent is cashless.

However, over the years, several Financial Technology Companies (FinTechs) have heavily invested in helping Ugandans shift from a cash to a cashless economy.

Among them is Beyonic, one of the leading fintech integrators in Africa that aims to eliminate dependency on cash by helping businesses quickly set up and manage digital payments.

The software company entered the Uganda market at the end of 2005 but started operations at the beginning of 2006.

Seeking to answer the question of accountability for organizations and donor bodies, the software company thought of ways of further supporting companies better manage their finances – income and expenditures by setting up a mobile payments platform in 2012 thus unlocking clean, safe, transparent cashless management of project and enterprise budgets.

“There are challenges for use of cash by organizations. Beyonic came to help institutions reduce the use of cash in all their systems. We are here to support and promote a cashless efficient economy,” Ian Mubiru, the Beyonic Country Director said.

He added: “As the fintech space matured, the contrast between the simplicity promised by a digital ecosystem and the cost, complexity, and risk of cash payments became increasingly stark. Payments are hard; especially in emerging markets, and particularly in the last mile. Thus, Beyonic set out to make them easy.”

According to Mubiru, Beyonic is helping free its clients from non-core roles so as to focus on making their businesses and communities thrive.

Its solutions include access, data house and pricing services.

Under Beyonic access, it enables instructions to access over 26 telecoms from across nine countries in Africa. This means that once one connects to the Beyonic platform, they will have access to over 26 networks in the nine countries including Uganda, Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya, among others, from a single sign-on.

In 2018, Beyonic processed close to 10 million mobile money transactions across its system.

Beyonic was also selected as the Instant Payment Notification (IPN) Hub successor entity, effective May 1, 2020, and it is responsible for all ongoing operational aspects of the IPN Hub including future growth.

The IPN Hub was developed by the GSMA in partnership with the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and MasterCard Foundation, to provide a single point of integration between mobile money networks and PAYG service providers in Sub-Saharan Africa, accelerating reliable access to utility services at the last mile.

Following the successful piloting and scaling of the IPN Hub, the GSMA elected to transition it to an entity that would continue to scale it sustainability and after a rigorous selection process, it was awarded to Beyonic.

The Data House solution on the other hand is used to store data that can be used for planning purposes by their different clients.

Mubiru said that a lot of data is out there but it is not well organised, thus Beyonic helps companies store and make sense of such data.

Under the pricing services, Mubiru said: “Payments and pricing continues to change over time. At the beginning of our journey, we were just supporting organizations but with time we found out that there was need to support fintechs and other players.”

“We had already developed a lot of application program interfaces (APIs) so we decided to open them up for anyone that needed to use them. We made sure that our APIs integration is as short as possible,” he said.

While others take three months to integrate, Mubiru said they ensured that theirs takes less than a month.

He said their APIs are being used by multiple partners including fintechs, e-commerce players, among others.

While they currently operate in nine countries, Mubiru said the plan is to cover over 20 countries by 2023.

Majority of its clients are women, mostly in agriculture. It is also working with a number of Saccos that offer loans to farmers.

Beyonic is among the firms taking part in the 40-days-40-FinTech initiative, organised by HiPipo under its Include EveryOne programme, in partnership with Crosslake Tech, ModusBox and Mojaloop.

The initiative seeks to enable FinTechs to innovate solutions that facilitate cross-network financial transactions at minimal risks to enhance access to financial services.

The initiative will see the participating 40 FinTechs acquire interoperable development skills to improve access to financial services, using the Mojaloop open source software.

Mubiru applauded HiPipo for the 40-days-40-fintechs initiative, saying the discussion of interoperability with Mojaloop is timely, as the market needs as much solutions as possible.

The HiPipo CEO – Innocent Kawooya said that Beyonic has played a great financial inclusion role in the markets where it operates.

“We are glad that the Beyonic products and services are impacting thousands of people at the last mile. It fits well in the 40-days- 40-fintechs initiative because theirs is a prime story that is transforming the financial sector,” Kawooya said.

He added: “Going forward, as stakeholders we must collaborate and together develop products and services that serve our people. Alone, we may fail, but as a group, we shall overcome all road blocks and collectively serve our people.”

In addition to the 40-days-40-fintechs initiative, HiPipo is also organizing a Fintechs Landscape Exhibition in mid July 2020.

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BigEye Money

CiplaQCIL delivers essential medicines to Bostwana

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By Our Reporter

In preparation of COVID-19 restrictions in Botswana, the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the government’s Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Central Medical Stores did an audit on the availability of medicine such as antiretrovirals (ARVs). According to UNAIDS, Botswana needed to acquire 2.3 million doses of ARVs for adults living with HIV to meet the demand for the following nine months1.

With a 20.3% prevalence of adults living with HIV in Botswana, it is one of the countries where the pandemic is the most prevalent. Botswana was the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to distribute universal free ARVs to people living with HIV2.

The Uganda-based pharmaceutical manufacturer, CiplaQCIL, was able to meet the country’s demand of the fixed-dose combination of tenofovir, lamivudine, dolutegravir (TLD) – the country’s first-line ARV.

CiplaQCIL has two thirds of the 1 million packs of TLD (37 tons) to Botswana and the consignment was transported by chartered Boeing 727 cargo freight planes. The balance of the order will be delivered later in July.

CEO of CiplaQCIL, Nevin Bradford, said: “Botswana faced a potentially critical situation in terms of shortages of essential medicine. We are proud that CiplaQCIL was able to rise to the challenge and ensure that people have access to lifesaving medicine, while also delivering on our ‘Africa for Africa’ commitment”.

CiplaQCIL recently also dispatched 300 000 packs of ARVs (a combination of tenofovir, emtricatabine, efavirenz) to South Africa, and will shortly deliver 1.5 million malaria treatments to Kenya.

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BigEye Money

4 Tips to Fool the Eye and Get an Illusion of a Bigger Room

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By Staff Writer

If you live in a small space, everything has the potential to make a massive difference. And that’s the key idea behind this article. In this article, we’ll teach you tips and tricks that can help you make your small room look bigger by the application of just a few clever tips and tricks. Unfortunately, the small rooms can make the space look uncomfortable and confining. However, there are a few design concepts, which can fool the eye and make any space look more spacious than it already is. Furniture arrangements, color techniques, and smart lighting are just a few of the many topics that will be covered in this post. Hopefully, these ideas will be inspiring for you. 

Use clever contrasts and light areas

It is a well-known fact that light colors have the potential to make space look brighter and bigger. Bright walls and light together act as reflective and make space feel more airy and open. This helps maximize the effect, which is created with the help of natural light. On the other hand, the dark colors absorb the light and make the room look smaller. To achieve an optimum effect, you should opt for softer hues like green, blue, and off-white. Also, remember that a brighter room will look more inviting and certainly bigger. Anusha, a hobbyist home decorator, who is a full-time assignment expert at TFTH,says that she just painted the moldings and the wall trims (blue) in a color lighter than the color of the walls (green), and now the room looks bigger because the wall seems farther apart from each other.  

Lighting is your key to opening up any space

Rihanna, a college student who availed of statistics homework help by TAE, currently lives in a small rented apartment. She said she has added a bunch of lighting fixtures in her room, and that gives an illusion of it being bigger than normal. If you do not want to invest in lighting fixtures, let the natural light inside the room. You’ll be amazed at the kind of difference lighting can make for your room. When you have adequate access to the natural light, allowing it into the home via large windows will work as a connection between the room and the outdoors, thereby making space look bigger. You can either get sheer window covering or completely pull them back, to ensure that more light comes in. In case the view outside is not very pleasant, you can add some flowers or plants near the window. You can even use some lamps to brighten up space. 

Cut out the clutter

You must keep your room organized and tidy. Harry, who is a homework help assistant with EssayWriter4U,says that he has a stack of books for his reference, which he rarely ever uses in his room, and that occupies a lot of space. He recently got rid of all of these books, and that made his room look more organized and tidy. Trust us when we say this, nothing else makes the room look more cramped and cluttered than having too much stuff. When things are arranged neatly, space looks more open and orderly. Always remember, a cluttered room is equivalent to a smaller room. Also, do not just cover all the walls with a lot of pictures and photographs. If you want the room to look bigger, just a large painting works better than multiple smaller paintings. If a lot is happening in the room, it can make it look crowded and busy. Now, when you are decorating a small room, try to create one focal point, one feature, or area that will bag all the attention. For instance, if it is the dining room, then this area will be the dining table. Now, you have to arrange the furniture in a manner that the focus is on this area. So, naturally, you have to ensure that the décor around is minimalist. Furthermore, you should try to keep the floor as clear as possible. This is certainly the most important tip to make the room look spacious. You can get rid of all the larger rugs to give an illusion of wider floor space. 

Add mirrors in the room

Mirrors give an illusion of a bigger room. So, for the adequate effect, you can pick a focal point, and then position your mirror towards it. This will give an illusion of depth. Furthermore, the mirror reflects the artificial as well as the natural light. As a result, the room looks lighter and brighter during the day and the night. Mirrors tend to bounce the light into the room, and thus, make it look larger. Ayesha, who is a work from the home employee with TrumpLearning,says that since she spends a major part of her day in her room, she has placed the mirror right near the window, as it reflects the light of the sun and makes the room look more airy and fresh. You can also add a mirrored cabinet that’d make space look larger.

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Local Business

ISBAT University, Airtel Uganda partner to provide free access to university’s Hybrid Virtual Learning Platform

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ISBAT University has announced a new partnership with Airtel Uganda aimed at providing students with free access to the University’s Hybrid Blended Learning platform.

By Our Reporter

ISBAT University has announced a new partnership with Airtel Uganda aimed at providing students with free access to the University’s Hybrid Blended Learning platform using the Airtel internet platform.

The partnership that is in line with the Uganda government’s efforts to ensure safety for everyone as well as education and business continuity from home will see Airtel provide free access to student numbers provided by the university and will be available to all active students of the current semester (Spring 2020).

Commenting about this partnership during the launch, ISBAT University Vice Chancellor Dr. K.M. Mathew noted that World over Universities adopted such learning and assessment practices for the affected semester(s) in order to save the semester and progress academically.

“ISBAT University’s interactive live virtual classes attracted a vast majority of students with lots of encouragement from the University community. The University’s aim is to ensure that our students are not at disadvantage due to the prolonged closure of the University in the lockdown period and we sincerely hope to save the semester in a timely manner,” he noted.

Airtel Uganda Managing Director Mr. V.G. Somasekhar congratulated ISBAT University upon this essential innovation and encouraged the students to utilize this opportunity to further their education.

Since the lockdown of all Education facilities in March 2020, Airtel Uganda has put in place a number of interventions to ensure Ugandans continue to access their education materials. The telecommunications company recently partnered with Avaya Holdings Corp. (NYSE: AVYA), as well as a number of online education providers to implement remote learning initiatives.

The collaboration between Airtel and ISBAT is going to be a paradigm shift in the higher education sector of Uganda, especially during this unprecedented pandemic situation.

Students will greatly benefit by this unique arrangement, as they will be able to continue with the academic progress in an uninterrupted manner with more enthusiasm and high academic spirit, without spending anything for expensive internet data.

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Local Business

The Innovation Village opens new centre in Mbarara

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By Our Reporter 

The Innovation Village has launched its new location in Mbarara City. This is their 3rd new location since the beginning of the year 2020.

According to CK Japheth, the Team Lead at The Innovation Village, “The Innovation Village is a promise to entrepreneurs. Our motivation is the potential that Ugandans have to contribute solutions to the problems challenging their country.”

“In Mbarara, we have set up a community where women and young entrepreneurs can come to network, connect and meet each other, and our mandate is to ensure that entrepreneurs realize their potential, work through their ideas until they scale into sustainable businesses.” Japheth added.

This launch comes at a time after Mbarara was recently awarded its city status. The district has earned its popularity as the land of milk and honey. This move will facilitate uniform and harmonized growth and development.

Mbarara town is a gateway to western parts of Uganda and Great Lakes region countries of Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo. Its population is about 480,000 people, and is second to Kampala in importance, industry, and infrastructure. Mbarara is also the home of one of Uganda’s biggest universities majoring in science and technology.

The Innovation Village seeks to partner with entrepreneurs that are not just technology enabled, but contribute to different sectors like farming, arts and crafts, agriculture to name but a few.

“Entrepreneurs do not know how to create sustainable businesses around what they do. The Innovation Village will help them sieve through their dreams until they settle for a good idea, that can grow and scale into other regions in the country.” He concluded.

The Innovation Village has other locations catering to the needs of entrepreneurs in Gulu, Jinja and Kampala.

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