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CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa

Publish date: 20 November 2018
Author: Luxembourg House of Financial Technology

Uganda’s first micro-pension service and e-wallet wins Best Catapulter Award after week-long bootcamp on financial inclusion organized by the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology.

Livingstone Mukasa, founder of Four One Financial Services,Uganda’s first micro-pension service and Mayicard platform, won the Best Catapulter Award from CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa, a week-long bootcamp on financial inclusion organised by the LHoFT Foundation. Besting 10 other fintech finalists from Africa, Mukasa’s final pitch during the culmination of the bootcamp on November 9th focused on pioneering innovations in social security for Uganda’s citizens, and captured the imagination of the expert jury. 

"When you realize that your failure might mean someone living in poverty, perhaps for the rest of their lives, you have no choice but to succeed," said Livingstone Mukasa, who lived in poverty in the slums of Kampala until aged 25. He received a college education and wanted to help his fellow countrymen and women escape poverty just as he had. He created Uganda’s first micro-pension service and the Mayicard platform, which gives access to healthcare insurance and other savings products.

Building on local expertise and aligned with the sustainability goals of Luxembourg’s finance centre, CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa targets Fintech companies that have the goal of increasing financial inclusion across the African continent, and serves to build bridges for business between Africa and Europe. The program concluded successfully on November 9th, after one week of intensive work, passionate discussions and business meetings, as a precursor for the European Microfinance Week taking place in Luxembourg.

14 Fintech startups were selected from 128 applications. 11 were able to attend the LHoFT’s program sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign & European Affairs (Directorate for Development and Humanitarian affairs) and PwC Luxembourg, and supported by key strategic partner such as InFine, University of Luxembourg, Professors without Borders, ADA (Appui au Développement Autonome), LuxFlag, Innpact, House Of Training, MicroInsurance Network, CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) and KAP Innovation in Frontier Markets. 

CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa covered a range of topics, including business model mapping, scaling strategies, peer due diligence processes, investability, business plan presentation, legal strategy, HR policy, marketing strategy, and more. In parallel, the 11 Fintech attended modules delivered by our experienced strategic partners focusing on the nuances of building businesses in Africa, MFI relations, and cryptocurrencies in Africa. PwC Luxembourg, core sponsor of the program, hosted a full session on the second day, delivering key insights on global cybersecurity trends, amongst other topics. Outside of the formal sessions, many evenings were spent continuing the discussion of entrepreneurial challenges faced by the participants.

The bootcamp culminated with a final pitch session and networking event, gathering the Luxembourg Microfinance and Fintech Community on November 9th. The 11 companies delivered their final pitches, leveraging all input from the partners, experts and mentors over the course of the week-long bootcamp. 

The jury, composed of Claude Faber, President of the Jury and Deputy Director for Development Cooperation at Ministry of Foreign & European Affairs; Arnaud De Lavalette, Senior Project Manager at ADA; Valérie Arnold, Partner and Corporate Responsibility leader at PwC Luxembourg, Benjamin Deransart, Founder of KAP; and Thiaba Sy co-founder of WIC Senegal (Women’s Investment Club), listened to passionate pitches from all 11 finalists, and declared Livingstone Mukasa as ‘Best Catapulter’. He received €5,000 prize money and an entry to the 2019 African Microfinance Week (SAM).

Nasir Zubairi, CEO of the LHoFT Foundation commented: “Wow. The program exceeded the objectives we had and, most importantly the participants’ feedback confirmed that we had succeeded in adding real value. We believe we have helped to ensure these businesses are better placed to scale and deliver real impact in relation to financial inclusion. We very much look forward to continuing to engage with the firms and monitor their progress. I am very proud of my team, extremely grateful to all our sponsors and partners, and thankful to have had the opportunity to meet such great entrepreneurs and to learn about the challenges they face.”

Romain Schneider, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs added: “The workshop provided an excellent opportunity to link the striving fintech sector in Africa to their equally active counterparts in Luxembourg. The word cooperation is very relevant in this context: African fintech startups have a lot of substance to exchange among each other, which the inclusive finance and fintech actors from Luxembourg also benefited from. On the other hand, the links that African startups created with key actors from Luxembourg, like the LHoFT’s fintechs, ADA, the University, the Inclusive Finance Network and others, will help them to adapt their innovations to the real needs of the people and the inclusive finance sector.”

Valérie Arnold, Partner at PwC Luxembourg and Corporate Responsibility leader said: "If I have to summarise the programme in two words, I would say "synergies and partnership". Through the time spent with the fintech start-ups, we have found out that there are many great things we can do together. Sustainable finance and financial inclusion are really key for the future: it is using technology and finance for good." 

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