It’s not often that you find the words ‘Uganda’ and ‘Fintech’ trending, even less so when you throw ‘London’ into the mix. But over the summer there’s been a gentle bubbling up of interest, especially among business leaders interested in East Africa generally, and Uganda specifically. Full Reach has considered this phenomena and here’s our 3 reasons why:

1. Uganda is offering a value opportunity to investors

The early bird catches the worm, and there’s a feeling that, with historical under-performance in the East Africa region, Uganda’s investment climate is now offering potential returns that make it a credible alternative to other African markets. GDP Annual Growth Rate in Uganda averaged around 5.6% percent from 2009 until 2018; much of the recent growth coming from services and finance rather than commodities.

GDP Growth Rate - Uganda

This suggests that the services sector might begin to look outside the country and start competing with Kenya and Rwanda. Uganda emerged in the IMF top 10 fastest growing economies for 2019. With a population of 38 million people, GDP Growth of 5.8%, coupled with Pivotal Regional Trade partnerships: East African Community (5 member states), Great Lakes (4 member states), COMESA (19 member states) – exporters have access to this critical market of 489 million, Uganda is a market not to be overlooked. Being featured in the summer edition of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry magazine ‘London Business Matters‘ suggests that the UK commercial community is smelling an opportunity.

 

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2. Fintech is (finally) going big in Uganda in 2019

Thanks to the advance of mobile money, tens of millions of unbanked have become accustomed to using technology to manage their finances. This has been transformational within the region, and across the continent. This wide acceptance of using technology can now be harnessed to widen financial access further.

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2019 sets to be a busy year with Ugandan fintech under the spotlight thanks to the African Fintech Festival being held in Kampala in November. Supported by the Africa Fintech Network, it offers a chance for public and private institutions to mingle with local entrepreneurs with Uganda front and centre of the agenda. FITSPA – the local Fintech national body is seeing this as a golden opportunity to widen interest, investment and to scale the country’s ecosystem.

3. Europe’s largest Ugandan business event is being held in London in September with a ‘Fintech Special’ session

The UK-Uganda Convention – The largest UK to Uganda FDI and Export focused event for the country in Europe. In its 9th year, it’ll be held on 13th September 2019 at the London Hilton on Park Lane and Saturday, 14th September 2019, Troxy. Of such importance is the event to the country, leading business and government leaders will attend; not least Rt Hon Edward Ssekandi, Vice President of Uganda.

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For the first time, a dedicated (Fin)Tech section will be held in collaboration with the Africa Fintech Association and local leaders in the sector. $bn Unicorn WorldRemit will be on the panel as well as speakers from across both continents. But it won’t just be talk-talk – there’s a range of real Ugandan Fintech scale-ups flying in from Uganda for the event – looking for investment, partnerships and growth opportunities. Now is the time to seize the opportunity and hear from companies such as XenteAkello BankerYakakoPay and to speak directly with their founders.

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The event will be held with a view to initiating an investment visit shortly afterwards. For any further information: Willy Mutenza, Chairman, | Uganda Convention-UK www.ugandanconventionuk.org | willy.mutenza@ugandanconventionuk.org

The author of this article, Martin Best is the Managing Director of the agency Full Reach.Martin is a London-based global Fintech expert, and was previously Head of Brand Marketing, EMEA Marketing and Global Marketing Partnerships for Fintech superstar WorldRemit, where he delivered the global campaigns ‘Money in Safe Hands (2016) and A better way to send money (2017). In 2018 Martin supported WorldRemit’s expansion of mobile wallet services in Africa. Martin has a passion for supporting projects that help create entrepreneurial opportunities for Africans in Africa. This has included supporting campaigns and initiatives in African nations including Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Nigeria. Martin has had an international career spanning several countries including Director of Marketing for Carlsberg Group, and several senior Director positions in Russia, Asia and Scandinavia.