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Pesapal gets green light to operate in Uganda

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The Bank of Uganda (BOU) has granted Kenyan digital payments startup, Pesapal, a Payment System Operator license, giving the company permission to provide mobile cashless transactions in the East African country.

Pesapal Uganda country director Martin Barungi said in a statement that the authorization gives Pesapal a license to drive cashless transactions increasing financial inclusion and convenience.

"Now, with the Bank of Uganda's regulatory green light, we will be able to hunker down in our continued effort to change the face of digital financial services in Uganda as a key stakeholder of its financial ecosystem," he added.

"We are delighted to have received the license from Bank of Uganda as this development sets us on course to revolutionize the digital payment ecosystem with innovative, convenient and secure digital financial services," continued the fintech's Uganda country manager Emmy Rono.

In 2019, the company launched its flagship offering, Pesapal Mobile, which customers can use to pay multiple bills in a single transaction and pay for goods and services by linking a credit or debit card with the app.

The payment gateway seeks to be Africa's safest and most convenient payment channel and has a presence in five other markets besides Kenya and Uganda including Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Surging services

The mobile money market is booming in Uganda, with Pesapal not only working with but also fighting for a stake in the market with the likes of Safaricom's M-Pesa which recently launched a Visa virtual card that will allow secure cashless payments at merchant locations in over 200 countries through Visa’s global network.

Ugandan fintech app Eversend is also aiming to be a one-stop-shop for cross-border money transfers for Africans in the diaspora.

Pesapal's license is a step in the right direction. According to DataReportal there were 13.92 million Internet users in Uganda in January 2022 and the country's Internet penetration rate stood at just 29.1% of the total population.

However almost 58% of the population had a mobile subscription and almost 51% had a mobile money account, while only 32.8% of people had an account with a financial institution and only 2.3% of Ugandans owned a credit card as of February 2022.

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*Top image is of Pesapal Sabi Smart POS. (Source: Pesapal).

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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