Women decry seclusion from e-commerce as top bank bags digital award

Damali Ssali (R) the Ideation Corner Author hands over an accolade to the Centenary Bank Team for Best Community Bank. Looking on is Ronald Azairwe, the CEO of Pegasus Technologies. PHOTO/ ISMAIL MUSA LADU

What you need to know:

  • Meanwhile in the same event on Friday, Standard Chartered Bank emerged the winner of the Digital Brand of the Year for the second time in as many years. The commercial bank shrugged of completion form Stanbic Bank and Centenary Bank who came second and third respectively.

The high cost of cellphones particularly that of a smartphones continue to price out many women from the digital inclusion, according to testimonies of several women operating micro and small businesses in the various markets around Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).

Speaking at the Digital Impact Awards Africa panel discussion, a platform that promotes digital inclusion, representatives of women in markets such as Bugolobi, Kalerwe, Mpererwe, Kitintale and Wandegeya, alluded to the exorbitant cost of mobile phones as a leading hindrance, barring women, most of whom operate in informal sector, from owning smartphones.               

With the smartphones, the market vendors have more opportunities and choices to use the gadget beyond just making phone calls and sending text messages.

For many of them, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and its resultant containment measures continues to take a toll on them and their business, yet with just a little bit of “technology on their hands” there produces would not be going to waste—perishing at the level it is happening.

According to Aisha Nanono, who represented Bugolobi market women, the situation has been furthered worsened by the untimely transfer payment after making supply, high cost of borrowing in the face of diminishing capital, thanks to Covid-19 induced shocks.  

 “Women in the markets have to use e-commerce, considering that they were badly hit by COVID-19,” the Founder and Author of Ideation Corner, Ms Damali Ssali noted in an interview. 

To solve this matter, Ms Ssali whose Ideation Corner compilations provides inspiring chapters pertaining to harnessing technology and making the best of innovations, agrees with the women from the different markets recommendations that telecom companies and mobile network providers avail them with affordable phones on credit. 

With those phones they can then access credit through phones and other financial products by the telecom sector player.

Cost of transfer

Just like all others, the high cost of money transfer pinches hard anybody sending or withdrawing monies. According to the Managing Director of Card Pesa, Mr Nelson Kituuka, government has to take charge and end the money transfer cost debacle.

“Government should introduce legislations or a policy on anything that disfranchises people at the bottom of the pyramid,” he said.  For example, he notes that Government can build a system where all industry players are asked to plug in, given that it will reduce the cost of transfers that are currently so high and beyond the reach of many.

Explaining the cost factor, the MTN Uganda head of payment, Mr Brian Wamatu, said it is associated with cost of acquisition of the system or the infrastructure.

But it can be brought down if industry players work together rather than compete against one another.  Over time he said MTN has insignificantly reduced a lot of transfer money costs

Award winner

Meanwhile in the same event on Friday, Standard Chartered Bank emerged the winner of the Digital Brand of the Year for the second time in as many years. The commercial bank shrugged of completion form Stanbic Bank and Centenary Bank who came second and third respectively.

Digital Impact Awards Africa is a platform that promotes Digital Inclusion, Financial Inclusion and Cyber security. The Awards seek to recognize, celebrate and appreciate different individuals and organizations that are spearheading the use of digital mediums to better serve their communities.

This is the 8th Digital Impact Awards Africa to be held so far in a Kampala as part of this year’s Digital and Financial Inclusion Summit organized by HiPipo and supported by Level One Project, Mojaloop, ModusBox and Crosslake Technologies.

The Digital and Financial Inclusion summit explored the strategic trends and technologies that are shaping the future of Digital, Information Technology and Business with special attention to the safety of customers’ funds and security of platforms in the financial technology industry.

 Winners of the 2021 Digital Impact Awards Africa.

Digital Banking Excellence

1.             Standard Chartered Bank (Gold)

2.            Stanbic Bank (Silver)

Banking Innovation Excellence

3.            CenteOnTheGo | Centenary Bank

Community/MFI Banking Innovation Excellence

4.            Centenary Bank (Gold)

5.            Pride Microfinance (Silver)

FinTech Innovation Excellence

6.            Digital Ticketing for Transport Services by KaCyber Technologies. (Gold)

7.            SafeBoda Business Loans in partnership with Numida. (Silver)

Financial Services Digital Excellence

8.            Stanbic Bank (Gold)

9.            Standard Chartered Bank (Silver)

Consumer Goods Digital Excellence

10.          Movit Products (Gold)

11.           Café Javas (Silver)

Utilities and Government Services Digital Excellence

12.           NWSC (Gold)

13.           URA (Silver)

Technology Services Digital Excellence

14.          MTN Uganda (Gold)

15.           Rocket Health (Silver)

Digital Campaign Excellence

16.          Stanbic National Schools Championship (Gold)

17.           Jumia Anniversary (Silver)

Digital Brand of the Year

18.          Standard Chartered Bank (Diamond)

19.          Stanbic Bank (Gold)

20.         Centenary Bank (Silver)