awamo humbly serves financial inclusion and a historical commitment

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ANTON WILHELM AMO'S STORY

awamo is an acronym made of the initials of Anton Wilhelm Amo (1703-1759) who was born in today’s Ghana. Having been brought to Europe as a slave during his childhood age his future looked all but promising. Luckily this changed when he was given the opportunity to visit German universities where he made an impressive career. Amo’s studies centered around law and philosophy and he mastered six languages. He received two PhDs in law and philosophy being the first African attending a European university and lecturing at two of them in later years.

When we heard about Amo his story inspired us. We regard the absence of opportunities as one of the main barriers to development in emerging markets. Our claim “information creating opportunity” reveals how we at awamo intend to help overcome this hurdle. By sharing credit information and improving access to affordable finance opportunities will arise for the bottom-of-pyramid population. This empowers people to become independent from external aid. Once given the opportunities it is up to every individual to make the most out of it – just as it was the case for Amo.

SITUATION

The International Finance Corporation reports that only 5.8% of the adult population in SSA (sub-saharan Africa) is covered by regulated credit bureaus. Only 20% (100 million people) of the adult population is served by unregulated banks, so called Microfinance institutions and 400 million people do not even have any access to financial services at all. While most of the people live in rural areas, the main problem is that processes are paper based, non-transparent, immobile and therefore inefficient. Additionally, a lot of people do not have valid ID´s, what makes the system prone to fraud. MFIs simply compensate the resulting high default rates, transaction costs and time consuming processes by charging interest rates of about 60%. As a result, local economies and job creation stagnate because of the limited access to finance for the bottom-of-pyramid population, that (in Uganda alone) lives on approximately less than USD 2 a day (World Bank).

SOLUTION

awamo offers the long awaited solution to the problems of MFIs and their clients. awamo is the digital, mobile banking platform and credit bureau especially designed for MFIs. The biometric technology involved solves the problem of having too little security by protecting clients data and reducing fraud. Because it is mobile and works online as well as offline, also people living in rural areas can be served better. The offered digital platform is intuitive, easy to use, transparent and comprehensive in order to decrease error rates. Every aspect concerning the MFIs business can be managed in no time via the awamo platform. As a result, interest rates drop, while remaining profitable for MFIs and valuable time can be saved to make every stakeholder better off.

SOCIAL IMPACT

During our research and pilot testing in Uganda it became clear, that our approach holds many advantages for all stakeholders being involved in the microfinance ecosystem. It is not only the borrowers or lenders who benefit from better availability of microfinance but also donors, government and regulators. awamo’s social impact measurement follows international standards (IRIS) and will be completely transparent to our customers and (partly) to the public.