Did You Know cashless payments in Africa can stop bullying?

Did You Know cashless payments in Africa can stop bullying?

Cashless payment is the trend that customers from young to old are fast getting aquatinted with across the globe. From banishing long tiring queues to securely walking in the streets, cashless payment speed up the whole checkout process for customers with less cost and time like never before. Cashless payments come with different forms-from mobile payments through various apps that have turned smartphones into digital wallets in paying for goods and services to contactless credit cards. The field of options for customers is huge and they are all preferred by consumers due to the satisfaction they give and the technological advancement they provide.

 

Poor understanding of financial basics and planning are contributors to a sense of vulnerability which lead people into making decisions they later regret or into debts they did not anticipate. The implementation of cashless payments has transformed peoples vulnerability of ignorance when dealing with finances while improving their technical skills at the same time. Between parents and their children who are still at school, it is a reliable stress free way of transacting cash. South Africa is vastly growing in the world of digitisation and offering the nation more options and more solutions. Fundi is South Africa’s leading education finance and education fund management solution specialist. Its introduction of a cashless system in a form of a bracelet to digitalise payments for primary schools is yet another innovation worth looking into. It is a game changer because once people get used to using it, it provides the retailer with the means to modify the experience according to the specific customer demands.

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Fundi’s bracelet, (made of rubber) by Fundi pay is a RFID (radio frequency identification) app which allows parents to load pocket money into  student’s account using any mobile phone. RFID belongs to a group of  well known technologies called Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) which operate by electronically identifying, collecting and analyse data about objects straight into computer systems. Radio waves  are used to track tags containing electronic information. Tiny RFID tags can be attached to wristbands or badges, and can be scanned using dedicated scanners or modern smartphones. Many schools transact money on daily basis, either to pay for school fees, school trips or pocket money hence a suitable target group for such mobile options.

 

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Fundi pay offers parents an e-mail which offers a platform for registration to take place. Once the registration process is done, parents have the capacity to allocate money into their children’s accounts and they in turn can easily make money transactions anywhere with their wrist rubber bands. The rubber bands are very user friendly  and are made of a hard plastic with a chip enclosed in order to protect the chip inside from being easily damaged. The chips have a tag within which is made up of a transmitter, receiver, and a circuit that stores large amounts of trackable information from bank card identification credentials, purchasing credits, to credit card numbers. This feature eliminates theft of money that is normally experienced at schools, giving students time to enjoy  their school activities peacefully knowing that their credit cards remain safely tucked away at home or in their school lockers. Bullying at tuck shops can also subside once parents and learners use Fundi pay.

Bullying is one of the major concerning issues in both primary and high schools in South Africa and many parts of the world and it manifests itself in so many forms and shapes at school in class-rooms and tuck shops during short breaks especially. Anti bullying steps have been taken by many schools and the department of education but it is still a concern. The vulnerability of young people who either due to poverty, unstable living conditions or unemployed parents develop aggressive behaviour and criminal patterns, which later lead to bullying is a complex reality that makes solving such cases very stressful. Culprits engaging in bullying normally end up getting away with it, leaving the victims with serious effects which are challenging for both parents and the teachers to assist learners affected in dealing with. Effects vary in degrees of complexity from missing classes, having unexplained bruising to committing suicide. Either way- the effects leave  detrimental stigmas and trauma. Implementation of digital solutions such as Fundi pay  has potential to bring more ease to the bullying crises for schools, parents and students as the wrist bands can be used to show solidarity while sticking up for the cause. They can be utilised to raise awareness to stand up to bullying. Money stealing from wallets and school bags can decline and a more healthier environment for learning can be experienced.

If you know of any innovations in Africa, an innovation that is changing lives, or you also want to be a guest blogger, get in contact with us on Twitter @inventiveAfrica or via email. Please share the blog with your network on Twitter and Facebook.

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Did You Know data could create a booming agricultural sector in Africa?

Did You Know data could create a booming agricultural sector in Africa?

Money makes the world go round..right? Well, maybe the tides are turning, and there is another influencer that is pulling the strings of the world. Data! Data and its analysis is influencing our daily lives constantly, whether at home sitting on the sofa watching Netflix, or in the work place, trying to work out how to deliver your product to the right audience on social media. It is even helping you to get to work quicker by letting you know the quickest routes.

But some traditional sectors in Africa are finding it difficult to keep up with the data revolution. In many areas agriculture remains almost unchanged for decades, or even centuries. Traditional methods are used throughout the process, from ploughing the land to selling produce at markets. This means, a large amount of farmers are not utilising data to improve their farming practices, increasing yields and selling at fairer prices. As you will have seen on Inventive Africa over the past couple of years, technology is beginning to be developed for the African agricultural sector. Many of these apps use mobile technology to put information in the hands of farmers, and they don’t even need to have smart phones.

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Technology is letting farmers to ask advice from other around the world, with innovations like those of WeFarm. It is helping them sell their produce online, without having to transport it to market themselves, and also enabling them to know the prices of produces in the market on a particular day without having to rely on the price of a middleman. Technology is even enabling farmers to gain access to farm equipment such Continue reading “Did You Know data could create a booming agricultural sector in Africa?”

Did You Know Kenya has an innovative personality?

Did You Know Kenya has an innovative personality?

Inventive Africa is back from Kenya and completely enthused! The blog has gone a little quite for the last two weeks, apart from a fascinating interview with Dr Tonny Omwansa, the Chairman of the Nairobi Innovation Week. (If you haven’t seen it out check it out here!) Kenya is a really fascinating country, which really highlights why we can not treat the African continent as one. Too often we talk about the continent in general (I am sure we have fallen into this trap once or twice also) instead of understanding the differences between the different regions, countries, and even ethnic groups (Whose different cultural traits can come together to strengthen a country).

Apart from the first few days at the inspirational Co-willing conference in Ukunda, in which I was mainly based in a nice hotel and it was impossible to learn about Kenyan culture or personality, I was based in Nairobi, where I spent the time to try and get to know and feel the cultural differences. And also try and understand why it seems that Kenya is embracing innovation even more than many other countries across the continent. My main experience in Africa is in West Africa, and I found immediately that my West African style interactions with people around town did not fit very well. From the taxi drivers to the security guards, the style of interaction is very different.

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Big brother is watching! Security at Malls in Nairobi is high!

I can’t begin to say I am an expert on Kenya after spending a couple of weeks there and I am only talking of first impressions. This may be a little harsh to Ghana, where I have spent most my time, but I believe I also saw a different work ethic in Kenya, with people from all sectors of society taking particular pride in their work and valuing their positions. Security is taken very seriously in Kenya, with sniffer dogs used at the SGR train stations, for the trip between Nairobi and Mombasa and back, and home security very strict about sticking to the rules. The cleanliness of the Nairobi was also impressive. Ok, it was not as spotless as a Swiss city, but there was a certain neatness, with grass cut and litter not strewn everywhere and clogging the gutters. (Or course in some parts of the city it was different)

“But what has this got to do with innovation?” I hear you ask. Well, I feel that these attributes have led Kenyans to be more open to adopt new technologies. M-Pesa (Kenya’s mobile money), which of course has been one of the major themes on Inventive Africa, is being utilised far more than I even thoughts. Taxis, shops, small roadside kiosks, paying staff, and even the informal sector receive payments via M-pesa. It is very handy, When short on cash, I used it to pay two trusting taxi drivers after they had driven off. And when I fancied eating local food (which is delicious) it was easier to pay with M-pesa and than cash, as often people don’t have the correct change. The willingness of people to use this technology from all walks off life is amazing. From the politicians and high earning expats, to farmers and informal workers, everyone has embraced and utilised M-pesa.

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Wonderful food, paid for by M-Pesa

One other major innovative breakthrough across the continent is the use of Uber and other apps in the taxi business, and drivers are really embracing it. Not all of them are happy with the amount of commission they have to give to these applications, but they realise that without them they can’t compete, and through them they can find long term customers. Most of the drivers use Uber, Taxify and now Mondo at the same time, not just sticking to one of the apps.

I see more changes coming in the transport sector in Kenya. With the frustrations regarding commission and also occasionally drivers that struggled to find their way around, there is still room in the market for another taxi app, and also the private bus system can also be made more efficient. There were already  attempts to change payment methods on the buses by bringing in an oyster card style system, but the system was not ready for it. (Oyster cards are used on London transport to touch in and out of transport and automatically charge your bank account) Tuk Tuks, Boda Bodas and the train system will also benefit from innovation.

iHub is another high roller in the Kenyan innovation sphere, with a visit from Mark Zuckerberg and amazing startups such as BrCK coming out of the hub. I had the pleasure of passing by their new office in the middle on Nairobi, where I met Vincent Matinde a technology journalist, who uses iHub as his office, with many others. If you want to check out his many interesting articles on the Kenyan and African innovation sector see here. iHub seem to have a slightly different set up to the past, being a place for people to work rather than purely promote innovation and technology. It may be a necessary change in the business model that makes so many technology hubs currently unsustainable and reliant on donors.

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Beautiful tea farm just outside of Nairobi

With its tea and coffee exports (Kenya is the biggest tea exporter in the world) natural tourism, and many others, Kenya has a good foundation to build on. Their focus on technology and innovation is also giving them a chance to lead the way in Africa. Already many schools are benefitting from free tablets, and the youth are taking it upon themselves to learn how to code. But the country and can not sit back now and relax. There are still problems to solve, and it may need even more innovation to do so. Politically, Kenya still has some tension, especially with a second President swearing himself in last week in Nairobi. For the country to continue to attract foreign investors, from inside and outside Africa, and move forward, it needs to create a more stable outlook.

Kenya has massive potential, and a willingness to try new technologies and new approaches. If you are in Kenya, and have an idea or innovation, why not get in contact and becomes a guest blogger for Inventive Africa. You can contact us on Twitter @InventiveAfrica or via email, or on our Facebook page!

If you enjoy reading Inventive Africa and want to support the upkeep of the blog you can donate at  You-can-now-accept-PayPal-through-eMerchantPay.png. Thank you for your support!

Did You Know Innovation in Africa could solve the migration crisis?

Did You Know Innovation in Africa could solve the migration crisis?

 Migration, in its simpler human definition, is the movement of persons from one place to another. As of 2015, the global population of human migrants according to UNFPA was 244 million, which is 3.3 per cent of world population. The push and pull factors identified were: family, natural disaster, education, conflict and economic opportunities. In Sub-Saharan Africa, IMF stated that the number of migrants doubled since 1990 to reach about 20 million in 2013. Two root causes discovered were conflict and pursuit for economic opportunities. However, various migration studies showed that over the years, there were fewer conflict migrants and greater economic migrants from Africa. In statistics, UNHCR 2011 official data of International migrants from Africa put refugee (conflict) migrants at 14 per cent and economic migrants at 86 per cent.

[Editors note] In recent weeks we have heard of horrific stories coming out of Libya regarding the trade in slaves of many of these migrants, who are destined never to make it to their wished destinations, and it seems maybe not even back home. There sad journey need not have happened, if they were confident that prosperity was possible in their own lands.

The root causes of migration in Nigeria mirrored to that of Sub-Saharan Africa – internal conflict, leading to 2,152,000 Internally Displaced Persons, (with 85 per cent caused by Boko Haram) and pursuit of economic opportunities. There is no official data for Nigeria`s economic migrants. However, because of her huge population, youth Continue reading “Did You Know Innovation in Africa could solve the migration crisis?”