Dzaleka Refugee Camp – The Frontlines for FinTech?
A geopolitical and commercial first, to be sure.
It has been reported that the world’s first refugee camp bank has seen strong usage in Malawi, sub-Saharan Africa. New Finance Bank launched recently in the Dzaleka refugee camp – made up of displaced Congolese, Rwandans and Burundians, and while offering the traditional ‘brick and mortar’ financial institution such as remittances and ATM services, in tandem with MyBucks stewardship, it has also been dispersing micro loans through cellular telephone and smartphone technology.
According to brand-e, “NFB hires refugee agents to go out into the communities within the camp and bring the banking services to their attention. The bank has been able to build a footprint to reach all 40,000 residents. An estimated 5,000 refugees at Dzaleka own various micro businesses ranging from grocery shops, barbershops, saloons, restaurants to poultry operations.”
Ingenuity knows no bounds. Accomplished via a partnership secured with Microsoft and its ‘App Factory’ initiative, Dzaleka refugees are also able to build their own apps within the camp. “To date they have developed an app that they use to share information about food distribution days.”
NFB is a unit of the Luxembourg-based fintech, MyBucks, which operates across the continent of Africa and to-date is expanding into Asia-Pacific and Europe. Earlier this year, MyBucks, allied with Naga Group for a strategic partnership, links MyBucks’ apps with Naga’s cryptocurrency technology. “MyBucks is offering Naga’s crypto wallet to its customers enabling them to send and receive payments via email.”