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Tanzania-based payments firm targets Kenya entry

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Nala seeks to carve off a slice of the mobile money market. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • Nala seeks to carve off a slice of the mobile money market where Sh4.3 trillion (about 40 per cent of the gross domestic product) was transacted last year.

Tanzanian firm Nala, which helps access multiple mobile accounts on a single interphase to settle bills and make other transactions, is seeking to set up shop in Kenya.

Founder and chief executive Benjamin Fernandes said Nala seeks to carve off a slice of the mobile money market where Sh4.3 trillion (about 40 per cent of the gross domestic product) was transacted last year.

The firm, which operates an app by the same name, has established itself in Tanzania and Uganda, but considers the markets in the two countries more fragmented compared to Kenya, the single-largest market in the region.

The app uses USSD (unstructured supplementary service data) where a code available from characters on the mobile phone is used to communicate with another device typically a network or server. It does not require internet.

"In Uganda, you have three or four [operators]. Kenya is a rare country, like, where you have Safaricom being dominant with over 90 per cent [payments] market share. We see Kenya as our next market," said Mr Fernandes in a fintech forum hosted and recorded by Citi Global Markets.

“We enable people to access multiple accounts through one app, that is Nala, which helps them pay bills [among other things] through USSD automation.”