uKheshe appoints new exec as it eyes Africa growth

Mark Dankworth has been appointed executive director of uKheshe Africa.
Mark Dankworth has been appointed executive director of uKheshe Africa.

To increase its user base across the continent and identify new business opportunities, uKheshe has appointed Mark Dankworth as executive director of uKheshe Africa.

Introduced in November 2018, uKheshe is the micro-transaction platform that enables digital payments for the unbanked. Partnerships with Mastercard and Nedbank have enabled uKheshe’s functions.

Referencing the Global Findex, uKheshe indicates that 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked, with Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 350 million (17%) of the global total.

Therefore, the appointment of Dankworth as executive director of its African operations is a timely one, especially as the need for a cashless society rises, it says.

According to Dankworth, since its inception, uKheshe has established that financial inclusion is vital for the overall growth and prosperity of the continent.

“If the unbanked continue to have limited access to proper financial solutions, they remain barred from the majority of the continent’s economic activities. This, in turn, results in a reliance on limited retail opportunities, inability to access credit, and thus often paying more for goods and services.

“Being able to truly bank the unbanked is by far the greatest challenge as well as a significant accomplishment. In my experience, several businesses have attempted to achieve this, but fail, and in the end, they cater for the same customer base that has previously been banked. What excites me about uKheshe is that it has been built to address the smaller merchants and people who previously did not have access to affordable banking services.”

The uKheshe Africa executive director says partnerships in Africa will play a key role and the company will look to establish relationships with key players in the various markets.

While uKheshe has focused on South Africa, Dankworth says there are already opportunities for the micro-payment platform in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Nigeria, Malawi, Botswana and Angola.

Described as an industry veteran, Dankworth launched a Kenyan card business in 2013 and says the payments industry has always excited him. “I saw how M-Pesa changed many lives in Kenya, and as a fully interoperable wallet solution, uKheshe will undoubtedly change the lives of so many across the continent.”

Clayton Hayward, co-founder of uKheshe, also believes the continent represents immense opportunity, as well as significant challenges to address the legacy of an unbanked society. “We recognise that through our platform, we can assist in addressing social equality and boosting the growth of the lower and middle-class brackets. We also know that we can, more importantly, play a vital role in the upliftment and improvement of the societies we work in.”

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