Telkom Kenya will develop a youth-focused digital wallet to relieve them from financial exclusion during the pandemic.
The telco has signed an agreement with the Ministry of ICT’s National Youth Council of Kenya (NYCK) to co-create ‘Fursa’, a platform that allows the council to disburse funds to youth conveniently, faster, securely, and timely.
This solution will increase the youth’s resilience in the midst of physical and infrastructural barriers that obstruct their access to financial services and products.
The Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Kenya estimates that 23 percent of youth between the 18-25-year-old age bracket are excluded from financial services and products and that financial services providers have no solutions targeted at youth.
Fursa will be customized to contain additional capabilities: a membership management system, financial reconciliation, savings and investments, an experienced board for job matching and e-learning as well as experiential skill development.
Telkom’s Chief Executive Officer, Mugo Kibati says that this collaboration is the first of many such Digital Financial Services partnerships that the company will be exploring, with the potential to accelerate the economy into cash-lite status.
“More can be done to advance the financial inclusion of our youth. Further digitization and investment in the mobile money ecosystem will help solve a crisis that has been further exacerbated during the pandemic. The Fursa e-wallet helps to address this challenge,” said Mr. Kibati.
According to the NYCK Chief Executive, Roy Sasaka Telewa, the e-wallet will open up a portfolio of financial opportunities to the youth in Kenya and more so at the grassroots levels.
“Far from development of joint programs and incentivizing youth to take up technology and youth entrepreneurship, employment and engagement programs, Fursa is a huge opportunity to support the government’s nationwide efforts to provide a financial and safety net in the unraveling pandemic,” said Mr. Telewa.
Under the partnership, Telkom will install the Fursa wallet and offer support with respect to its operationalization, maintenance, and updates. It will also provide professional and product support services, including infrastructure, care services, monitoring, performance, and availability.
As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, digital financial services systems have been used to support social distancing efforts, aiding business continuity during movement restrictions that have been implemented in Kenya and across the world.
Last year, The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) directed all banks and telcos to actively encourage the use of mobile payments. Telkom Kenya joined other telcos in eliminating charges on person-to-person transactions of less than KSh. 1,000 for an extended period, and also raised the transaction ceiling from KSh. 70,000 to KSh. 150,000.