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Ukheshe chases African opportunities with KCB Bank deal

Samuel Mungadze
By Samuel Mungadze, Africa editor
Johannesburg, 02 Feb 2021
Mark Dankworth, executive director of Ukheshe Africa.
Mark Dankworth, executive director of Ukheshe Africa.

South African micro transaction platform Ukheshe has inked a deal with KCB Bank in Kenya to grow its services in East Africa.

The agreement will see KCB sponsor Ukheshe’s Bank Identification Number, which will allow the fintech firm to immediately issue both physical and virtual cards across East Africa where KCB has an extensive footprint.

Ukheshe says the deal will include other digital products, such as QR issuing and acquiring.

The move by the fintech firm into the East African market comes on the back of ramped up efforts by Ukheshe to establish and enhance key partnerships in Africa, as the continent shifts towards digital channels, products and services.

Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest-growing investment zones for financial technology companies, according the trade body that represents the interests of global mobile network operators.

The GSM Association predicts total Sub-Saharan Africa mobile subscribers will reach over 600 million by 2025, and will become a flagship for mobile disruption.

Victor Ndlovu, vice-president of Ukheshe Africa, says that by joining forces with KCB, the firm is well-placed to address several open loop market opportunities while boosting wider consumer adoption.

“Payment options across various segments will benefit, such as payroll, companion cards, multi-currency prepaid cards, travel cards and gift cards, together with social security and other government benefit programmes, such as insurance claims.

“With a shared objective of contributing to economic growth and financial freedom on the continent, Ukheshe and KCB will meet the bourgeoning demand for viable cash alternatives.”

Commenting on the alliance, Anastacia Kimtai, KCB director of retail banking, says: “We are keen on continually expanding our digital offering and card business to serve customers and deepening financial inclusion. KCB has been at the forefront of digitising transactions to offer customers seamless services.”

Mark Dankworth, executive director for Ukheshe Africa, says: “We’ve found a long-term strategic partner that shares our vision of simplicity and transparency in payments, whilst driving financial inclusion and opening up new pathways to innovation. We look forward to a highly-productive working relationship.”