New savings scheme for motorists seeks share of BK's Rwf60m interest-free credit

On December 13, Bank of Kigali will unveil the pioneer winners of its inaugural Rwf60 million interest-free financing for innovative start-ups under the lender’s Urumuri initiative.

On December 13, Bank of Kigali will unveil the pioneer winners of its inaugural Rwf60 million interest-free financing for innovative start-ups under the lender’s Urumuri initiative.

Of the 13 entrepreneurial ideas left in the contention, one is a savings system for motorists.

There are around 12,000 motorists in Kigali and about 90,000 across the country. Most of them are young men that have abandoned farms to tryout their luck in the country’s transport sector; also, most of the motor bikes are acquired on credit, repaid in daily installments.

Competitors for BK's interest-free loans in a group photo. Faustin Niyigena

With maintenance, credit repayment, feeding, fuel and taxation related costs, it is often not easy for motorists to save, and as a result, it’s a hand to mouth business most of the time. For Erick Joseph, a burgeoning entrepreneur, he saw an opportunity in a problem that needed a solution.

“Family wallet” is what Erick is proposing as a solution targeting taxi motor operators in Kigali.

In practice, it’s a digital wallet that enables taxi motor drivers to save a portion of their daily earnings and tracks their income and expenses to help them build credit profiles that would at some point help them access loans from financial institutions.

According to Joseph, “the idea was to ensure motorcyclists are able to save and have a basis to negotiate for loans with financial institutions, in addition to fulfilling their final obligations.”

The objective is to give the motorists ability to do all financial transactions on the Family Wallet.

The wallet in its current form offers three services; savings programme, material loans and some financial transactions. They also plan to include construction workers and other employees that do not have a stable source of income.

After the presentation of the finalists, this panel of judges begun the selection of the winners to be announced in December. Faustin Niyigena

So how does Family Wallet work?

Family Wallet agents collaborate with motorists to acquire their identifications. In order for one to use the transaction system, motorcyclists and passengers download the Safe Motos application onto their smart phones.

Family wallet agents then create wallets for motorcyclists and passengers, where they can keep money to pay for motorcycle transport, without using cash. The agents can also make available the motorcyclists’ wallet account history thus allowing any bank to process loans for them, by looking at the account profile.

Crowned Africa’s 7th Most Innovative Company by Fast Company Magazine, Family Wallet’s goal is to expand services to include more online payments such as fuel, financial loans and leasing of motorbikes.

Joseph’s start-up was among the thirteen that made it to the semifinals of Bank of Kigali’s Urumuri Initiative that seeks to support projects with high commercial and social impact as well as potential to be game changers in coming years.

Up to eight winners will be selected and shall share Rwf60 million worth of interest-free financing. Family Wallet is asking Bank of Kigali for a loan of Rwf20 million.

One of the finalists speaking to the judges during her project presentation which is e-commerce. (Faustin Niyigena)

The loan will be used to purchase 80 taxi motos, develop a Safe Motos App that would manage the loan and drive finances to enable greater financial responsibility.

“Drivers are empowered with owning their bikes and better financial management,” the entrepreneur told judges during a pitching session a fortnight ago.

With over 300 project ideas that were submitted early this year, fifty contestants were selected to undergo an intensive business mentorship programme by Inkomoko business development experts from whom the thirteen semi-finalists were selected as front-runners to win Rwf60 million interest-free financing.