12 - Personal Finance in East Africa
“What we are looking for is partnerships, opportunities to learn, and collaborations to push forward the betterment of humanity.” - Richard Ndahiro of the United Nations Capital Development Fund When I attend any conference, I’ve realized the most valuable part is the time that exists between scheduled activities. Mainly meals and breaks. This is generally when I meet the most amazing people and have the best conversations. At the SIBOS 2017 (https://www.sibos.com/) conference in Toronto this past October, 8,000 delegates came from all over the world so I was definitely hoping to have great conversations with interesting people from different countries. I got to have many conversations over the 4 days of the conference but when I met a group of delegates from Uganda at my lunch table on day 2, I immediately knew they would be on my podcast. Since my visit to Kenya last year I’ve been wanting to tell people about the state of personal finance in East Africa but my knowledge only scratches the surface. (When I say East Africa I mean the East African Community(EAC) of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan.) In Canada we take things like bank accounts, credit reports and credit scores for granted. We have credit cards and loans available to us from multiple sources. If we have talent, is it not hard to find the opportunity to use that talent to get a paying job or get funding for a business. It isn’t that easy in East Africa. THE INTERVIEW My 3 guests on today’s episode are: Richard Ndahiro, Digital Finance Expert for the United Nations Capital Development Fund or UNCDF (http://www.uncdf.org/) Ronald Azairwe, Director of Business Development for a Fintech company called Pegasus Technologies (http://www.pegasustechnologies.co.ug/) Eric Kamau, Managing Director of a Fintech company called True African (https://trueafrican.com/) Richard, Ronald and Eric have all made it their life’s work to improve the way that East Africans manage their finances. Only 11% of East Africans have bank accounts. In contrast, according to the World Bank, 99% of Canadians have bank accounts. Without a bank account, your cash is at risk, you can’t really prove you make any money, you don’t exist from a bank’s perspective, and you are unlikely to be able to get credit anywhere. I am very happy that Richard, Ronald and Eric made the trip from Uganda to Toronto to join me in an inspiring conversation about bringing opportunity to those who need it most. NEXT EPISODE There is one more episode coming for 2017 and that’s a special holiday giving episode featuring Todd Bender, founder of a Canadian charity called CityKidz (https://citykidz.ca/). Look for that one on Xmas eve, otherwise I will be taking a break for the holidays and I’ll be back in the middle of January 2018 to start a new year of great conversations.
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