The global migration from paper-work to digital systems over the past two decades has received both support and resistance almost in equal measure. The critics have fronted the jobs worry of replacing humans with machines in the employment world while the proponents cite efficiency, convenience, and cost-effectiveness.
All said and done, digital migration has made work easier across the world.
Let us take the example of Nadia Maluk Nanteza, who works in the Client Service section at Hijaz Finance, a Ugandan Sacco offering Islamic Finance services. Nanteza says Sacco book-keeping was a nightmare until they were introduced to a digital solution called SaccoMate, which has made her fall in love with her job over and over again.
“At Hijaz Finance, we offer Sharia-compliant services in the banking system. Our success is because of the SaccoMate ERP because it is a user-friendly app. Our clients can easily follow up on their deposits and account balances using their phones,” she says.
SaccoMate is a product of EchoLink Technologies, a software development, and FinTech company providing a comprehensive suite of digital solutions such as web designing, bulk SMS, custom software, and mobile applications, among others.
According to Alawi Mutebi, the founder and CEO of EchoLink Technologies, SaccoMate is one of their software products aimed at helping Saccos manage savings, interest-free loans, investments, agency banking, and E-banking using a customized Mobile App. The system integrates data from different activities seamlessly through its internet-based Web and Mobile App features accessed by managers and clients for easy decision-making through its analytical abilities.
“This software can operate several activities within an Islamic or Sharia-compliant Sacco from the point of onboarding clients to a point where they are doing their savings or withdraws, requesting loans, and other financial products provided by the Sacco,” he says.
“Islamic Financing being a new phenomenon in Uganda, we have so far on-boarded about 10 Saccos that are proving these sharia-compliant products to Ugandans,” Mutebi says they have processed more than one million dollars in value transactions and about 10,000 Sacco members are using their mobile application.
Mutebi notes that while Islamic finance is slow in Uganda, there is evidence that conventional bankers are slowly integrating the Islamic Finance model within their operations.
Mutebi further notes that beyond Saccos, the Mate ERP Suite is designed with different modules that are further customized to suit business operations including human resource, accounting, billing, payment collections, product management, membership management, manufacturing, project management, Point of Sale, and inventory management. The system features for different versions are enabled to be accessed by the users on desktop or mobile.
40 Days 40 FinTechs
Eco-Link is the 12th participant in Season Four of the 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative organised by HiPipo to highlight the life-changing stories of innovators across East Africa.
“I am glad to be part of the 40 Days 40 FinTechs because it gives us a platform to talk about our products and bring out our new ideas for the public,” he says.
HiPipo’s 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative has become a household name in the financial technology space across Africa. In the last three editions, more than 100 FinTechs have been showcased, highlighting stories changing people’s lives, especially in the under-served sectors.
According to HiPipo CEO Innocent Kawooya, user-centric products like SaccoMate are what make these innovators unique because they solve a specific problem.
“This year we are mainly looking at the impact of these FinTech innovations. We are happy to see such products which looked at a specific problem like Islamic Banking and came up with a solution that directly handles the operational challenges therein,” he said.
HiPipo runs the 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative in partnership with Level One Project, Mojaloop Foundation, INFITX, Cyberplc Academy, Ideation Corner, and Crosslake Technologies with generous support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.