Davis Nteziryayo is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of PesaChoice Company, a technology based firm that operates in five countries–Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.
It offers enterprise financial solutions tailored and customised for banks, telecom companies, and other financial institutions. In an interview with Sunday Magazine’s Donah Mbabazi, Nteziryayo revealed why he opted for a career in technology and the future for a cashless economy.
When and why did you establish PesaChoice?
It was in 2016, I was living in the United States when two of my colleagues and I came up with an idea that would help Rwandans easily transfer money and also pay bills instantly. We first came up with the idea that helped those in the diaspora because we realised that they spent too much money on sending money back home, the charges were around 5 to 7%.
We built the PesaChoice app which allows the diaspora send money instantly and at a very low cost. It also allows them to pay bills directly to their loved ones in Rwanda for example water and electricity bills among others.
We have since advanced our app and it now services financial institutions by offering enterprise financial solutions, right now we work with DSTV, MTN Rwanda, The Energy Utility Corporation Limited (EUCL), Airtel and Tigo Rwanda.
How is it relevant to the Rwandan economy?
The Rwandan economy is growing; hence we need to advance the kind of services we provide. People are getting busier each day and we need to adapt to the changes quickly, we need to provide services conveniently. Services should be brought to the customers and as providers; it is our job to make it easier for consumers.
The Rwandan economy is trying to move into this new wave of using technology to make lives easier for people and that’s exactly where we come in, making bill payment right at your fingertips.
What does it take for a tech company to remain relevant in an ever evolving economy?
There has to always be continuous improvement when it comes to technology. When you are inventing, you give people what you think they want but as they respond to your initiative you have to listen to what they want in form of feedback, and always add new things to make sure that people are happy with the services.
How do you envision the cashless economy?
I lived in the US for eighteen years and in a whole month I would touch not more than 20 dollars in cash, this is where we are heading. We are still a cash based economy but with the ever-changing technology and as generations change people will develop trust and embrace the cashless economy.
What are the benefits of embracing a cashless economy?
I could be biased because I am in technology but, for me, there are a lot of advantages. It saves the Government on fraud especially dealing with counterfeit notes and also reduces on the expenses of printing notes. On the side of the consumer, it is easy to keep track of how you spend your money, it is also safer in terms of keeping your money and faster with planning.
What should businesses do to prepare for this?
Most bussinesses in Rwanda are still cash based, they don’t have the technology to start operating online payments but they should understand that it is not expensive to set up, businesses need to look into it seriously because it will improve their proficiency and profitability. It will also allow them to understand their consumers’ behaviours as they will be able to keep track with the data, this will also help them in decision making.
Amazon is one of the biggest companies in the world; they are where they are because of their analytics. You have to analyse people’s behaviour to predict and create new business techniques that people need.
What’s the future for PesaChoice?
We aspire to be the go-to leader for financial technology services in Africa. This is why PesaChoice is aligning its businesses to help shape the next generation in mobile financial services in Africa.