A B2B solution to digitize MFI transaction flows in Senegal

Claire Kalonji, Project Manager, UNCDF

In Ziguinchor, Mrs. CISSE now manages her finances and the repayments of her microloan from her shop. Thanks to a technical solution provided by GSIE Technology, her bank account is directly linked to her mobile money account.

Mrs. Cisse is a faithful client of the Alliance de Crédit et d’Epargne pour la Production (ACEP), a well-known microfinance institution (MFI) in Senegal. She has been granted three successive loans by ACEP Senegal to develop her kiosk shop. Her excellent reputation with the institution comes from her ability to pay back her loans on time. In addition, today, thanks to ACEP FEEP (“everywhere” in Wolof), she can credit her bank account using her e-wallet. With this new service that links her MFI account to her mobile money account, she no longer must close her kiosk to go to the branch to deposit the amount due every month.

The technical solution used by Mrs. Cisse when she uses ACEP FEEP is known as IntercoMobile. GSIE Technology developed the solution and integrated it into the MFI’s information system via an API (Application Protocol Interface) to link the client’s bank account to an e-wallet. Unfortunately, to date, only Orange Money is available on the platform. However, GSIE Technology is negotiating with other e-money issuers to expand the solution’s reach.

Furthermore, GSIE Technology’s teams support ACEP and other MFIs throughout the integration process by delivering technical assistance and customer support. In the field, GSIE Technology’s teams train the MFIs’ agents, provide a user platform and participate in customer enrolment campaigns.

Following the example of ACEP Senegal, other MFIs in Senegal wish to implement this “Bank to Wallet” and “Wallet to Bank” link. However, for these MFIs, the technical challenges linked to this integration or the commercial negotiations with e-money issuers often hinder the implementation of a digital transformation within their organization.

Since June 2021, UNCDF works with GSIE Technology to support the deployment of IntercoMobile in Senegal. The objectives of UNCDF are to accelerate the identification of new MFIs and grow the adoption of the services by clients like Mrs. Cisse. Today, 6 500 clients benefit from the IntercoMobile solution, and the objective is to reach 10 000 clients by June 2022.

To measure the impact of IntercoMobile, UNCDF followed the marketing campaign organized by ACEP Senegal from 21 to 25 March in the branches of the Ziguinchor region, as well as in the field during customer visits. This visit allowed UNCDF to measure customer satisfaction, and the feedback from users was very positive. The application is mainly described as “practical” because it saves the need to go to a branch to withdraw or deposit money.

However, some customers are still reluctant to use e-money and will need further support from ACEP Senegal agents. Blaise DIAGNE, ACEP Senegal branch manager in Ziguinchor, explains that the population’s appropriation of new digital channels takes time, especially in rural areas. It often requires word of mouth. The branch manager believes that “ambassadors” such as wholesalers or community leaders adopting and recommending the ACEP FEEP solution will quickly allow practices to change.

Chérif Diatta, Head of Distribution Channels at ACEP Senegal, is delighted with the success of the integration of IntercoMobile within ACEP. He plans to launch commercial challenges within the network to accelerate the adoption of the solution and awareness campaigns, such as the one conducted in Ziguinchor, to support ACEP customers in digitalizing transactions.

To learn more about this solution for MFIs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our project manager in Senegal, Claire Kalonji

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