Proparco its first investment in a Fintech to develop loans in Africa

05 Apr 2018

Proparco today announced an equity investment of US$3mn in JUMO, an emerging market technology start-up that offers unbanked or under-banked people access to financial services via their mobile phones. JUMO provides an innovative platform and suite of products that promote financial inclusion.

An innovative, responsible business model for mobile financial services

JUMO helps to provide loans and savings-products to customers through mobile phone networks. The company has developed a credit scoring algorithm which helps customers to unlock the value of their digital footprints by providing an accurate estimation of their creditworthiness, helping them to access finance at a very low cost due to the company’s efficient, large scale platform approach.

In 2017 alone, the start-up granted 12.2mn loans to customers and currently operates in Africa (Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, and Ghana) and recently launched its first activities in Asia (Pakistan).

JUMO takes Client Protection Principles very seriously. It set up an Ethics Committee that independently assesses compliance with best practices. JUMO has also worked with organisations such as The Smart Campaign to adapt client protection standards for digital financial services, especially focusing on data confidentiality aspects. In 2017, MasterCard Foundation recognised JUMO as the most client-centric financial services company, working with low-income customers in emerging markets.

Promoting financial inclusion on a large scale

A large proportion of JUMO’s current customers earn very low incomes (80% of the company’s Tanzanian customers live on less than 4 US dollars a day). Many are accessing financial products for the first time thanks to the company, for example, 81% of the company’s Tanzanian and 77% of Zambian customers say they have never taken out a formal loan before.

Mobile-phone-enabled financial services go some way to helping meet the shortage of traditional banking solutions, which are often expensive and unsuited to the needs of a large proportion of people in emerging markets. Proparco is deploying its investment of US$ 3mn as a way to partner in JUMO’s development and to help grow the mobile loan sector in support of low-income populations, especially informal micro entreprenuers who are frequently shut out of the formal banking system.

In time, this investment will help improve people’s lives, especially as at least 2 in 3 of customers in all of JUMO’s markets are micro or small entrepreneurs. Borrowers use their loans to invest in their businesses, cover emergencies and other expenses, this project will help to financially empower these customers. Lastly, the project will help create and maintain jobs directly within JUMO, and indirectly in the informal private sector by supporting jobs for entrepreneurs and those they employ, numbering in the millions.

“this investment in JUMO – our first investment in a Fintech – is a natural extension of our action to promote financial inclusion by focusing on microfinance organisations, loans for SMEs – and now mobile technology. This project harnesses mobile phone technology to reach much larger numbers of people in a much wider area.” said Grégory Clemente, Chief Executive Officer of Proparco.

“We have proven our business model and are now gearing up for the next phase of building the largest scale and lowest cost platform delivering high-quality financial services to emerging markets.  With Proparco  we have an investor who understands the complexity of our markets and is committed to the qualitative imperatives of our mission such as customer protection and transparency so we are very excited about this partnership.“ said Andrew Watkins-Ball, founder and CEO of JUMO. 

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