UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) is pleased to announce that JUMO has won their Sprint4Women Design Competition for women’s financial inclusion in Zambia. JUMO was one of three finalists competing for a grant to roll-out digital financial services (DFS) solutions for the rural women of Zambia, alongside Fenix Zambia and Hobbiton Investments.
As one of the first providers of non-collateral-based, digital lending products that can make funds available in minutes, JUMO’s experience and expertise will help extend access to credit and savings so that women in Zambia can grow their businesses or save towards essential lump-sum payments, such as school fees.
To win the competition, the companies needed to demonstrate: that their product fits the needs of rural women, how they would increase the number of women customers signing up for and using DFS, and that the company could scale their product to at least 30,000 new customers, with at least 60% of them being women.
All three competitors also had to conduct field research and testing, iterate their product based on their findings, and pitch their results to a judging panel with compelling data and evidence that they would be able to sign on new customers and reactivate dormant customers. The three companies performed at an exceptional standard and collaborated well with the various technical experts throughout the competition process.
Jumo scored highest of the three companies and will be awarded a $85,000 grant once the UNCDF grant review process is completed.
“At UNCDF, we know that financial inclusion is an enabler to building digital economies. Women play a huge role in this, but only if they have products that suit their needs. With the Sprint4Women winning product, we wish to see more women accessing savings and loans and we are excited to see this product reach more women across the country,” said Kilyelyani Kanjo, Digital Country Lead in reaction to the Sprint4Women results.
“The team worked really hard from application to pitch amidst stiff competition, which is testimony to the quality and potential of digital financial services in Zambia,” says Dinko Svetic, Country Manager for JUMO Zambia. “We’re honoured to accept this grant and look forward to working with UNCDF and our ecosystem partners to implement improvements to our lending and savings products so we can better serve the women of Zambia.”
JUMO partners with forward-thinking funding and data/distribution partners to deliver digital financial services and will be working with Absa Bank Zambia PLC and MTN Zambia to provide these improvements.
“As Absa Bank Zambia PLC, we are proud to be part of this achievement. Financial inclusion remains one of our key focus areas as we continue to identify ways of supporting and uplifting women in our society. We believe financial inclusion provides an avenue through which we can bring more women into the mainstream of economic activity, thereby harnessing their contributions to society,” says Thandiwe Musonda, Head of Products and Digital at Absa Zambia PLC.
Chief Fintech Officer at MTN Zambia Mr. Komba Malukutila says, “We appreciate our growing partnership with JUMO within the MTN mobile money ecosystem. Gender empowerment is a key strategic component of MTN Zambia’s Corporate Social Investment. Significant contributions have been made towards the development of girls and women in Zambia. We strive to ensure that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to understand, develop, participate in and benefit from ICTs and its applications.”
While UNCDF is pleased to now partner with JUMO and their stakeholders to advance the financial inclusion of women in Zambia, the organisation is also pleased that Fenix, Hobbiton, and several other DFS providers showed such interest in better serving this customer segment. When crafting the competition framework in September 2019, UNCDF interacted with over 16 DFS providers to understand their solutions for these underserved customers. The success of Sprint4Women demonstrates that the Zambian industry is interested in addressing research from a 2018 report, Labour Pains: The Financial Lives of Zambian Mothers, that revealed that although women make up 51% of the population, only 20% to 30% of them are active DFS users.
Addressing gender equality and women’s economic empowerment is central to UNCDF’s mandate, and UNCDF aims to make Digital Economies work for women by expanding the supply of financial products targeting and responding to the needs of women and girls, as well as identifying women as agents of change in the Zambian Digital Economy. The challenges of women are often challenges for other vulnerable groups, too. With this in mind, UNCDF works in Zambia to ensure all vulnerable groups can participate in the digital economy and are not be left behind.
UNCDF congratulates all three competitors for their innovations and looks forward to working with JUMO, Fenix and Hobbiton as the technical assistance sessions continue.
More on the Sprint4Women challenge can be found online here.
Founded in London in 2015, JUMO is a full technology stack for building and running financial services. We enable our partners to offer next-generation savings, lending and insurance products to entrepreneurs in emerging markets. These give anyone with a cell phone and mobile wallet access to unprecedented financial choice, so that millions of people can prosper, build their businesses and grow. Since inception, JUMO has served over 15 million customers and disbursed over US$1.8 billion in loans.
For more than 50 years, UNCDF makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 least developed countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers ‘last mile’ finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development. Since 2015, UNCDF has been a local presence in Zambia, focused on implementation of projects that address the needs of the 40% financially excluded. These projects are grounded in digital solutions to improve financial inclusion, address energy and resource needs at household level, and improve accessibility to goods, services and markets that help them sustain their livelihoods or improve their lives.
UNCDF has provided a mix of grants and technical assistance to policymakers, financial service providers, civil society and users of digital finance in order to expand access to and usage of services that contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.