Inside Uganda’s emerging fintech ecosystem, where the central bank is on its side
A year after Uganda’s central bank, the Central Bank of Uganda, launched a pilot project with an international fintech company that allowed businesses to send money to each other instantly using internet technology, the ecosystem has become more diverse and more connected, and has expanded to include other businesses like mobile phones and even gold bars.
The Central Bank of Uganda has set out to connect millions of its citizens to the financial services world by developing partnerships with local banks, financial businesses and other institutions. In the process, the central bank says it has achieved a variety of goals: “[it] has shown how the public sector can contribute to the growth of the national economy through smart innovation and private sector support.”
“It is very clear that fintech was an enabler for what the Central Bank of Uganda has accomplished over the past 12 months,” said Dr. E.J. Kagwa, the executive chairman of the Central Bank of Uganda.
Indeed, many fintech companies have stepped up to offer their solutions to Uganda’s financial challenges. Among them are mobile phone-to-wire transfer company M-Pesa, mobile wallet developer Square, and digital currency provider BitX.
But Uganda’s push to introduce e-commerce among its citizens has been the most significant development in the country’s recent push.
“One of our main goals here is to bridge our digital divide by connecting an entire generation,” Kagwa said. “We are excited to be engaging with them and are grateful they are using our services.”
The growth of the e-commerce industry in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic is one of the many factors the Central Bank of Uganda has leveraged in its drive to bring financial services to Ugandans.
In October of last year, the Central Bank of Uganda and the Bank of Uganda (BOU) signed a memorandum of understanding that allowed the two institutions to implement a pilot project to bring online banking services to Uganda. The pilot project uses