By Christian Wamambe Mayeku, VP of Payments & Wellbeing — SafeBoda
In the ever-evolving landscape of technology and innovation, it’s not uncommon for companies to expand their horizons beyond their initial offerings. SafeBoda, a ride-hailing company that has been a staple in Uganda since 2014, took a bold step in 2022 by venturing into the fintech space.
This leap of faith has not only transformed the way Ugandans commute but also how they manage their finances. SafeBoda’s foray into fintech has, without a doubt, empowered both the passenger and driver community, while simultaneously bolstering economic growth in the nation.
The SafeBoda app, which was once solely synonymous with convenient and safe transportation, has now become a one-stop-shop for various financial services. With just a click of a button, users can seamlessly pay for their trips using cashless, pay bills, purchase airtime/data and earn competitive interest on the money stored in their wallets.
This innovative approach has not only enhanced the convenience factor but also simplified the lives of many Ugandans that have previously found it inconvenient to access these services via mainstream channels.
One of the most remarkable outcomes is that SafeBoda is using the fintech solution to intentionally promote its driver’s well-being. In partnership with Total Energies Ltd, now drivers can access fuel loans, Watu an asset financing company is also offering motorbikes to SafeBodas on loan, and the most exciting one, Housing Finance Bank is as well providing land/construction loans to the driver community.
All these services and more from these partnerships leverage the drivers wallets as a way to remit loan payments but also as a source of information to credit score these drivers giving them a chance to leverage their track record with SafeBoda to unlock opportunities for their financial development.
Additionally, SafeBoda’s fintech venture has created employment opportunities. Over 1,000 mobile money agents have been enlisted, spreading financial inclusion to every corner of the Central Business District.
These agents serve as crucial intermediaries, ensuring that financial services are accessible to even the most remote communities. This is critical in bringing our driver community into the financial industry. It’s not just about convenience; it’s about empowering individuals to be active participants in the digital economy by providing affordability alongside convenience.
Security has always been a paramount concern in the fintech world, and SafeBoda takes this responsibility seriously. The company has implemented stringent security systems and mechanisms to safeguard its users from fraudsters. Every user has their unique secret password, adding an extra layer of protection to their accounts.
Furthermore, the “Know Your Customer” (KYC) process ensures that user identities are verified, mitigating the risk of fraudulent activities. Importantly, SafeBoda emphasizes that it will never ask for a user’s password, reinforcing their commitment to user safety.
Beyond the technological advancements and security measures, SafeBoda’s fintech services have tackled significant socio-economic challenges faced by both drivers and passengers. For drivers, this expansion has meant additional financial discipline and stability.
The ability to save money earned on their wallets from transporting passengers has broadened their revenue base, reducing dependency on ride-hailing alone since they can save for further investment. Passengers, on the other hand, benefit from a wide array of services, including easy access to financial tools, i.e. domestic bills payments, thereby fostering economic empowerment.
As we witness the incredible impact of SafeBoda’s fintech revolution, it is imperative that the government continues to support such homegrown innovation. SafeBoda’s story is a testament to what can be achieved with determination, creativity, and a deep understanding of local needs.
By fostering an environment where startups can thrive and innovate, Uganda can position itself as a hub for tech-driven solutions that address real-world problems.
In conclusion, SafeBoda’s foray into the fintech space has not only diversified its services but has also reshaped the lives of Ugandans for the better. Through empowerment, security, and economic growth, this homegrown company has set an example for others to follow.
It’s a reminder that innovation knows no bounds and that when supported, startups can transform not only industries but entire communities. SafeBoda’s journey is an inspiring one, and we must ensure that it continues to inspire and thrive.