Octagon Africa and SaveApp Group have partnered to launch a micro-savings solution dubbed Ukonga, that enables users to save their spare change for future use.
“This solution is available on USSD and as an App to enable users to save their spare change in their daily spend. We are telling our customers that every cent and shilling matters in enabling your financial goals. You can redeem your savings to pay for your holidays, pension, insurance, shopping, among others. Ukonga is the Zulu name for savings. The choice of this name affirms our Pan African ambitions. With our partners, we target to roll out this product across Africa, said Mr. Abdulaziz Mohammed, the Chief Executive Officer of Save App Group Limited.
The customers can download the Ukonga app via USSD or Google Play Store to access their savings. Users will be required to register an account and select their savings goal. This is either Octagon pension savings, UBA savings or holiday savings. This app works when a customer transacts at Naivas cashier tills across their 75 branches countrywide. Instead of the hassle of spare change or receiving sweets for change, customers can channel their spare change and save for future use.
Speaking during the launch, United Bank for Africa Kenya (UBA Kenya) Chief Executive Officer Mr. Chike Isiuwe affirmed the bank’s commitment to leverage on the product to increase its clientele base. “For us, this is what financial inclusion looks like. It is getting all people, young and old, to appreciate that savings are the foundation of growth. As the banking partner of Ukonga, this product is very critical to our agenda,” said Mr. Isiuwe.
Octagon Africa Executive Director of Strategy and Product Development Mr. Godwin Simba noted that Ukonga will bolster the growth of the pension sector in Kenya.
“The pension penetration has stalled at 12 per cent and member participation continues to reduce particularly in the private sector, mainly contributed by adverse effects of the pandemic. This has heightened the need for more digitally inclined solutions that encourage small daily steps of saving opportunities as we build towards a healthy savings culture,” said Godwin Simba.
“Through the Ukonga app, customers can now save their spare change at Naivas till payments and channel this towards their savings for retirement. This will be anchored under the Octagon Personal Pension Scheme, which is registered and regulated by the Retirement Benefits Authority. Our drive is to work with strategic partners such as Save App in a bid to improve the quality of life for our customers in their sunset years,” added Simba.
Ukonga app is a collaboration between SaveApp Group, a Kenyan technology company that creates solutions to solve real-life problems, UBA Kenya as the banking partner, Octagon Africa as a pension partner, and Naivas Supermarket as the retail partner.
“We put at least KES.100,000 per month per branch to cover the challenge of coins and change. For our 75 branches, we are looking at a float of not less than KES. 7.5 million. Through Ukonga, we will be able to overcome our daily spare change dilemma as we also contribute towards encouraging a savings culture for our customers,” said Naivas Corporate sales manager Patrick Pere.
Save App Group targets to enroll more strategic partners into the platform and roll out an aggressive marketing strategy to ‘disrupt’ how Kenyans view spare change by encouraging them to save through the platform.