In many parts of Africa, there is still a large number of people that are without banks. This is why initiatives such as M-Pesa have been so popular in the continent. Now a Zambian-based startup named Zoona is hoping to mirror that model by catering for the country’s unbanked population.
Launched in 2009 by Brad and Brett Magrath, two brothers born in Zambia,Zoona enables entrepreneurs to process mobile money transaction, bill payments and other financial services to those traditionally lacking access to banking services.
“The majority of transactions in Africa are mostly on a cash basis. For Zambia it is even more so, with over 80% of its adult income-earning populace unbanked. And another 50% are not connected to modern communication technology, this for Zoona made the business important for the community,” said Mike Quinn, Zoona CEO.
Agents serve more than one million customers every day across close to 1,500 locations in Zambia and Malawi and because of its success, the company has its eyes set on expanding to the DRC and Mozambique.
“The startup offers a range of products to move money electronically targeting Zambian individuals and organisations that move money and don’t like waste. We work closely with both the development sector and private sector to build the Zambian economy and extend access to financial services to everyone,” says Quinn.
All the transactions are done via mobile and users receive confirmations with reference numbers via text message.