Impact2Insight (i2i), in partnership with BongoHive, CEC Liquid Zambia and Financial Sector Deepening Zambia have launched the DataHack for Financial Inclusion (DataHack4FI) Zambia competition, an African innovation competition that promotes evidence-based decision-making for improved financial service provision to low-income individuals.
The launch DataHack for Financial Inclusion competition launch was officiated by Patrick Mutimushi, Director General Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority, this morning, at Lusaka’s Radisson Blu Hotel. “As the rest of the world is amidst a dramatic transformation from isolated systems accelerated by cloud computing and big data analytics as well as connected devices, we have implemented the new licensing framework that responds to the emerging trends in the ICT sector and provides more ICT services for consumers. The authority will always be a reliable partner in promoting such initiatives as they form a strong backbone towards building a reservoir of ICT think tanks that will propel the economic development of our country. The competition should not be defined by how “cool” the technology is, but how financial services are accessible, scale able and inclusive to all segments of society.” said Patrick Mutimushi.
The DataHack for Financial Inclusion (DataHack4FI) competition is aimed at the delivery of appropriate financial services to underserved and low-income segments of society, in a way that enables them to meet their needs to consume, manage risks and unlock opportunities to improve their lives. The competition is held across six African countries, including Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ghana and Zambia.
The launch also featured a discussion panel on data innovation and financial inclusion in Zambia including CEC Liquid Zambia CEO – Mr. Andrew Kapula, Probase CTO – Mr Chinedu Koggu, CTO, ZAZU Co-Founder & CEO Perseus Mlambo, UNCDF Zerubabel Kwebiiha Junior -Digital Financial Services Expert.
“Financial inclusion is about people understanding how to use their money and make it work for them. This is true for all Zambians, whether you are a smallholder farmer in Mpongwe, a university student receiving money from family or a more sophisticated professional making online transactions or trading on the stock exchange. The women and youth of Zambia fall somewhere in the middle of that scale. If you can figure out what their pain-points are and then take the data to provide a solution, that is financial inclusion,” said Charity Chikumbi, Policy Advisor at Financial Sector Deepening Zambia.
Charity Chikumbi spoke about the important of data to financial services innovation for three main reasons: Firstly, data can help understand the needs of the people we are trying to serve better and hopefully, this leads to more innovations to give the people what they want. Secondly, data gives us insights into how clients are managing their money, how often they save, why they are saving or why they withdraw money from their savings. Asking questions such as “what did you withdraw from your savings for”? might reveal that maybe that person never needed to withdraw, maybe what they needed was insurance or a loan instead. Thirdly, data allows us to see where we are and allows us to map out where we want to go.
DataHack4FI this year brings together Data Science enthusiasts and existing FinTechs to create data-driven solutions to real-world challenges in financial inclusion. An in-country Data Science Facilitator and Fellow will both be attached to each FinTech that meets the criteria with costs being covered by i2i for the duration of the the competition – February to April 2018. Multiple sessions will also be organised for knowledge sharing on various topics, with selected sessions delivered by Data Science Experts outside the country.
There are two categories: US$5,000 for overall winners; and USD2,500 for a product that targets women. Teams can participate in both. The winners in each category will proceed to the final competition, due to be held in Rwanda on 9-10 May 2018 during Transform Africa Summit, where they will compete for $25,000 and seed funding from global investors.