Business

Experts Urge Ugandans to Leverage Savings And Loans For Growth

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Ugandans have been advised to take advantage of savings and loans to achieve
their aspirations.
The call was made during a financial and digital inclusion webinar organized by
Airtel Uganda on Thursday 1 st July,2021 under the theme; Transforming Lives
Through Digital Microfinance: Savings and Loans, at the second Airtel Uganda
webinar held on July 1 st , 2021.
Attended by industry experts, the webinar underscored the importance of technology
and mindset if we are to deepen financial inclusion in Uganda.
“Whether you are going to borrow money or you are going to accumulate your
savings and then invest it later, it all begins with savings. All we need to teach our
people is to understand technology so that they get used to interacting with gadgets
and change their mindset towards saving,” Mr Joseph Lutwama, Director Programs,
Financial Sector Deepening –Uganda said.
“Savings is just a starting point, it can never be enough to finance business, you
need credit as well to achieve your desired goals.”
According to statistics from Finacial Sector Deepening Uganda, only 5% of people in
Uganda take loans from banks because of fear associated with failure to pay on
time.
To revolutionise and deepen the loans and savings culture in Uganda, experts have
re-emphasised the role of innovation and synergies.
To realise this, Airtel Uganda in partnership with KCB Bank Uganda recently
introduced Airtel Money SuperSaver, a mobile-based savings product, and the Agent
Float Financing, a credit facility for Airtel Money agents.
“We wanted to make it easy for our customer to access credit for their businesses or
other demands but also help them save some money with convenience. We strongly
believe it’s through such products that we can deepen financial inclusion by
extending reliable, safe and secure financial services to people who find it difficult or
inconveniencing to access a bank,” Mr. Amit Kapur, the Chief Commercial Officer at
Airtel Uganda said.
Commenting about the same, Mr. Edgar Byamah, Managing Director KCB Uganda,
said; “Diversifying savings, partnerships across different sector players including
insurance, banks among others should be a major growth aspect which should be

fronted. The Banks need to leverage more on partnerships to drive innovation.”
Dissecting the savings culture in Uganda, the experts highlighted the importance of
trust and access to financial services.
“One needs to leverage their savings; a bank will not give you money unless they are
sure that you have sufficient cash flows for you to be able to service the debt,” Mr
Lutwama advised.
Commneting on access, Mr. Amit said; “With over 10 milion subscribers all over the
country many of whom do not have bank accounts, Airtel has positioned itself as the
bank to the unbanked enabling Ugandans to easily save and access loans right at
the comfort of their homes and with no traditional collateral security.”
Bankers as well, have been deliberate on easing access to banking services and are
doing a lot more to diversify savings while ensuring there is continued trust with
customers.
“Banks have been adjusting to the reality fast, to increase their reach. Now they are
targeting financial inclusion as one of the key aspects in the industry. In terms of
innovation, digital offering banks have to slowly invest in integration aimed at
supporting commerce, payments and savings.” “Depositors continue accessing their
money whenever they want it and that is due to the trust and confidentiality that we
have built overtime,” Mr. Byama said.
In conclusion, Dr. Fred Muhumuza, The Development Policy Analyst & Lecturer at
Makerere School of Economics, cited need by Ugandans to consider credit backed
by savings for any business to thrive.
“Money is the major transformer of the economies, it’s the blood of the economy,
without credit, you can’t develop the economy. The partnerships between banks and
the telecoms are really a welcome gesture which will in a long run leave a huge land
mark on the economy.”

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Panelists at the webinar included;

Mr. Byamah Edgar The MD of KCB Bank
Mr. Joseph Lutwama The Programs Director at Financial Sector Deepening Uganda (Ms. Rashmi delegated to him as she will not be available on that day)
Dr. Fred Muhumuza The Policy Development  Analyst and lecturer at School of Economics – Makerere University.
Mr. Amit Kapur The Chief Commercial Officer at Airtel Uganda

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