In the spirit of the Swahili proverbial saying, ‘haba na haba hujaza kibaba’, the SaveApp group in partnership with the United Bank of Africa (UBA) and Octagon Africa have initiated a micro-savings platform that will see users have their change saved for future use.
During the launch of the micro saving platform known as Ukonga,[a Zulu word which means savings] at the Nairobi Serena Hotel on September 1 2021, Abdulaziz Mohammed Omar, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Save App Group Limited said the conception of the idea was motivated by the Pan African agenda and ever-growing African population that perceives savings as an economic or scheduled task.
“Our main aim is to make savings impulse, whereby customers can save their money passively or impulsively,” he said.
To make this a reality, the company launched an ‘Ukonga’ a savings app that is available on android through Google play store which commands a bigger percentage of the Group’s target audience.
“This solution is available on USSD and as one of the money saving app, it will enable users to save their spare change in their daily spend. We are telling our customers that every cent and shilling matters in enabling your financial goals. You can redeem your savings to pay for your holidays, pension, insurance, shopping, among others. With our partners, we target to roll out this product across Africa,” Omar said.
The customers can download the Ukonga app via USSD or Google Play Store to access their savings. Users will be required to register an account and select their savings goal. This is either Octagon pension savings, UBA savings or holiday savings.
This money saving app works when a customer transacts at Naivas cashier tills across their 75 branches countrywide. Instead of the hassle of spare change or receiving sweets for change, customers can channel their spare change and save for future use.
Speaking during the launch, United Bank for Africa Kenya (UBA Kenya) Chief Executive Officer Chike Isiuwe affirmed the bank’s commitment to leverage the product to increase its clientele base.
“I am happy as a bank to be part of it, this is what financial inclusion looks like. It is bringing all people, young and old together, we are a bank that is set out to support African businesses, and to appreciate that savings are the foundation of growth. We are happy to partner with SaveApp to push savings across Africa,” said Isiuwe.
On the other hand, Octagon Africa Executive Director of Strategy and Product Development Godwin Simba said that the launch of Ukonga was timely and it was going to see the growth of the pension sector in the country.
“The pension penetration has stalled at 12 per cent and member participation continues to reduce particularly in the private sector, mainly contributed by adverse effects of the pandemic. This has heightened the need for more digitally inclined solutions that encourage small daily steps of saving opportunities as we build towards a healthy savings culture,” said Godwin Simba.
In partnership with the SaveApp Group, through their newly launched product, Octagon Africa is working to improve their services whereby customers will be able to save their spare change at Naivas till payments and channel this towards their savings for retirement under the Octagon Personal Pension Scheme.
“Our drive is to work with strategic partners such as SaveApp in a bid to improve the quality of life for our customers in their sunset years,” Simba said.
Ukonga app is a collaboration between SaveApp Group, a Kenyan technology company that creates solutions to solve real-life problems, UBA Kenya as the banking partner, Octagon Africa as a pension partner and Naivas Supermarket as the retail partner.
“We put at least Ksh 100,000 per month per branch to cover the challenge of coins and change. For our 75 branches, we are looking at a float of not less than Ksh 7.5 million. Through Ukonga, we will be able to overcome our daily spare change dilemma as we also contribute towards encouraging a savings culture for our customers,” said Naivas Corporate sales manager Patrick Pere.
Save App Group targets enrollment of more strategic partners into the platform through an aggressive marketing strategy to ‘disrupt’ how Kenyans view spare change by encouraging them to save through the platform.