Post by Victor Mochengo, Business Data Analytics Lead at Pezesha

The Africa Tech Summit 2020 took place in the hilly city of Kigali in Rwanda at the Kigali Convention Center on the 5th and 6th February. The tech summit this year had the largest attendance since its inception and was characterized by rich depth and diversity of topics, participating startups, professionals and tech enthusiasts ranging from private bankers from Switzerland to tech startup founders and local computer science students.

View of Kigali Convention Center at night

Pezesha was among the 5 best credit scoring startups shortlisted to take part in the Engie Startup Challenge, a credit scoring pitch competition that had attracted more than 100 applicants. Victor Mochengo, Pezesha’s Business Data Analytics Lead represented the company at the pitch competition showcasing the company’s flagship Credit Scoring as a Service product Patascore and the scale, iteration and momentum the product has gained over the past 3 years. Patascore has been used to provide credit assessment to over 250,000 individuals for on-ward lending by over 200 lending partners including those using Pezesha’s digital lending marketplace infrastructure.

Victor from Pezesha, presenting at the ENGIE pitch challenge in Africa Tech summit, Kigali

The Africa Tech Summit provided an exceptional and unique audience to get feedback on Pezesha’s market knowledge, advances and further scale and growth opportunities. There were about 39 panel discussions and presentations during the summit and more than half focused on further reinforcing out-of-the-box thinking to full proof fintech capabilities and the sector’s role in creating financial opportunity for the unbanked and underserved communities.

Patascore is aligned to this ever-growing need and sentiment of harnessing, harmonizing and appropriately interpreting alternative data. We have built market experience around working with diverse alternative data pools including mobile money and merchant transactional data. Equally important is the product’s growing capabilities for Know-Your-Customer (KYC) purposes as an essential evaluation step, and niche scoring in multiple sectors including consumer lending, SME, MSME & merchant financing, paygo models and agriculture. We now have active and growing market knowledge in Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria with an expected pipeline of more than 12 million customers by close of 2020.

More specifically, there were positive sentiments around some African countries’ (e.g Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa) eagerness to adopt decentralized systems and frameworks and their products such as cryptocurrencies. Some of the regulators who were present acknowledged the challenge of technology always outpacing regulation. The suggested remedy to this was that technology entrepreneurs and regulators should adopt a more collaborative approach so as to ensure sustainable scalability. To this extent Pezesha has taken a leading stand to further iterate, test and scale its product offerings responsibly within a regulatory environment as part of the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) of Kenya sandbox. Being part of the sandbox ensures compliance, transparency, credibility and the unique opportunity to provide feedback for regulatory consideration from the technology builders’ perspective. 

African technology keeps scaling within the urban set up with rural consumption limited mainly to mobile money and sin products especially sports betting and gambling. But fundamentally, all these technologies are being built within siloed frameworks. There are hardly any continental and cross-border infrastructure systems hence the systematic failures of difficulty in moving money around the continent, poor intra-African trade and travel. Despite all of this, social media platforms and cryptocurrencies have provided evidence that the needs of a diverse people can be coalesced within one unified platform. Still it will be a great calling to work around breaking down age old bureaucratic financial, immigration and lethargic fiscal systems. Patascore is built with a Pan-African mindset at its core. The system has been built to provide borderless robust rails infrastructure for automated credit decisioning at present already utilizing advanced analytics tools to learn and build financial histories of users from more than 40 million financial transactions. 

To round it up, in fintech we can no longer be siloed and rigid because open banking is increasingly growing in necessity and charming its way into scale, just ask Sterling Bank! Pezesha aims to provide an agile framework through Patascore to enable open banking and open fintech infrastructures around lending and credit decisioning. 

If you are working on an interesting financial inclusion model that is data-driven at it’s core or need a scalable solution to amplify you financial business success please write to us: hello@pezesha.com, we are keen to learn and collaborate with other strategic players to empower the more than 2 billion unbanked people through use of credible and reliable decisioning. Furthermore, data is the new oil, so extraction of its value will only be strengthened through unified collaboration.