Telkom Kenya has partnered with The National Youth Council of Kenya (NYCK) to develop a youth-focused e-wallet to boost financial inclusion among the youth, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Known as ‘Fursa’, (Swahili for opportunity) the platform will allow 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% of the 18-25 year-olds are excluded from financial services and products and that financial services providers have no solutions targeted at youth.
Fursa will be customised to contain additional capabilities: a membership management system, financial reconciliation, savings and investments, experience 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 digitisation 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’s Chief Executive, Roy Sasaka Telewa, the e-wallet will open up a portfolio of financial opportunities to the youth in Kenya and moreso at the grassroot levels. A strong financial services footprint is helpful especially to the youth to leverage in application for business opportunity and or demonstrate a working history.
“Far from development of joint programmes 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 unravelling pandemic,” said Mr. Telewa.
Under the partnership, Telkom will install the Fursa wallet and offer support with respect to its operationalisation, 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 KSh1,000 for an extended period, and also raised the transaction ceiling from KSh70,000 to KSh150,000.
Financial services, partnerships and digitisation form part of Telkom’s focus areas. In this strategic direction, Telkom seeks to enrich its financial services offering to reflect evolving customer demands while paying attention to the growing need for secure transactions.