Tackling Financial Inclusion Using Technology – The Journey Of Jumo Africa

Tackling Financial Inclusion Using Technology - The Journey Of Jumo Africa

JUMO is a mobile financial services platform for mobile network operators and banks. The platform facilitates digital financial services such as credit and savings in emerging markets by way of USSD short codes. 


Based in South Africa and London, the platform has disbursed 120 million loans, totaling $3.5 billion, to more than 18 million people and small businesses in Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Côte d’Ivoire, and Pakistan.


The Early Days: Founding Jumo Africa


Jumo Africa was founded by Andrew Watkins-Ball, a seasoned entrepreneur. Beginning his entrepreneurial career as an event producer, he went on to help establish Gateway Telecommunication, a satellite service provider, in 1991, which he later helped sell to Vodacom for $700mn in 2008.


Between 2000 and 2007, he was also a leveraged finance specialist at Wall Street investment bank Salomon Brothers, where his knowledge guided him to found JUMO. His company’s flagship product provides digital financial services to millions of people across Africa who sometimes do not have access to mainstream banking.

In addition to providing financial services, JUMO provides a safer alternative to cash for people living in the informal economy by partnering with mobile or e-money operators. They also transact with local merchants and other individuals via USSD shortcodes because they don’t require data or a smartphone, which would limit access. 


JUMO also uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to create accurate credit scores, allowing consumers to obtain tailored financial services such as savings accounts and loans that would otherwise be unattainable.


Growth and Expansion


Jumo Africa’s journey began in South Africa, where it quickly established a strong foothold in the fintech industry. As Jumo’s success grew, so did its geographic reach. The company expanded its operations across the African continent and currently operates in six African countries: Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, and Ivory Coast. To date, Jumo has disbursed more than 120 million loans, totaling an impressive $3.5 billion, benefiting over 19 million individuals and small businesses in these nations, according to financial information company Nairametrics. 




To fuel its mission and expand its reach further, Jumo Africa attracted substantial investments from various sources, raising over $266.7 million in funding across different rounds. In 2021, the South African fintech company secured $120 million in a funding round at a $400 million valuation.


Future Plans

Jumo Africa has plans to expand its presence in additional African countries, including Nigeria and Cameroon while continuing to develop its services in the regions where it is already active. As it forges ahead, Jumo Africa remains committed to its mission of fostering financial inclusion through innovative technology, ultimately empowering individuals and small businesses across the African continent and beyond.

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