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Uganda: Airtel Uganda enters partnership with Mastercard, Samsung, and Asante to drive digital inclusion in Uganda through affordable Pay-on-Demand services

Airtel Uganda has announced launching a Pay-on-Demand mobile platform in partnership with Mastercard, Samsung, and Asante Financial Services Group (“Asante”).

Airtel Uganda yesterday announced the launch of a Pay-on-Demand mobile platform in partnership with Mastercard, Samsung and Asante Financial Services Group (“Asante”).  This solution will enable under-served consumers as well as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have digital access to smartphone devices and will help drive financial inclusion and generate improved economic possibilities for people and businesses in Uganda.

The platform aims to solve directly the ongoing socioeconomic difficulties caused by the limited access to financing faced by many consumers, entrepreneurs and merchants across Uganda.

Kwata Essimu - what the service is dubbed, will offer to Airtel Uganda customers an opportunity to own selected Samsung 4G smartphones that include; Samsung A01, A3 Core and A11 through providing effective hand-set loans for consumers.

This new partnership will offer to consumers and MSMEs affordable asset financing through the convenience of their smart handsets at a low upfront cost while distributing payments over time. The usage of the product overtime will create for the individual or business a digital transaction history, making other financing solutions accessible, like credit, savings, investments and insurance.

This is beneficial, particularly for small business owners and entrepreneurs. It offers them the opportunity to obtain financing to drive their business forward as well as build digital capabilities for their everyday business. Furthermore, Pay-on-Demand users will be able to access digital payments through Mastercard’s virtual card and Mastercard Quick Response (QR Codes) functionality on their Airtel mobile money app, enabling them to make digital transactions across face to face and online merchants.

Judith Nabakooba, Uganda's Minister of ICT at the partnership event. Image Source: CEO East Africa

When speaking about the partnership, Judith Nabakooba, Uganda's Minister of ICT said; "The current pandemic has created a paradigm shift in the way we live as Ugandans. Now more than ever, there is an apparent need for digital presence most especially for businesses. I applaud Airtel Uganda, Mastercard, Samsung and Asante for recognizing this and championing yet another cause to drive smartphone and digital penetration in Uganda."

The Managing Director Airtel Uganda, Manoj Murali, commented: "Our mobile money services are changing customers’ lives across Uganda. This innovative partnership will help Airtel feature phone customers upgrade to smartphones and pay with Airtel Money on flexible instalment plans. This opens up the digital economy and creates additional opportunities for Uganda’s entrepreneurs."

Charles Kimani, Director Products Samsung said: "Samsung is proud to be the provider of world class devices with an end-to-end security platform with always-on protection. This partnership will benefit the people across Africa starting with Uganda and will create affordable payment plans to access Samsung devices. There is so much growth opportunity in the region and we believe that this partnership will help accelerate economic growth in the mobile industry."

The CEO of Asante Financial Services Group, Chidi Okpala, said: "Our purpose in Asante Financial Services Group is to advance financial independence and improve the well-being of Africans and African businesses. This bold Africa-wide initiative, starting with Uganda, is aimed at facilitating convenient ownership of smart devices for underserved segments and will catalyze a future for Africa that is built on shared prosperity."

Uganda in focus:

Population: 44 million (2019)

GDP: $35 billion (2019)

GDP Per Capita: $794 (2019)