Fintech as a Necessity: Starter Investors in an African market
The buzzword “Fintech” has to have a practical aspect. Breaking it down into more relatable bitesized pieces helps everyone get on the same page. The challenges faced with it requires a first hand explanation of the sort of experiences one faces in an African Market.
Maybe scoping it as far as an African Markets is a little broad as well, given that African countries; though with similar challenges, have different context when it comes to the way they do business.
As economies and countries come out of a global pandemic, the rules of engagement at any stage, may have dramatically shifted, or more or less stayed the same. Taking the time to give and offer up a first hand experience, a young professional starting up, gives some insight into this domain.
Q: Please explain to me what kind of economic activities you are engaged in?
A: I have been freelancing since March, 2020. Doing a little bit of software development. This week I have been trying to apply to a team I hope to join. I want to get more needed experience just generally in Software Development.
Q: So explain the kind of freelance work you have been doing?
A: So mainly it has been web development and web applications. I am starting up in mobile application development as well; this is before I had an interest in seeking out an internship or employment.
Q: Being in the technology space, tell me about investing, from your own experience and path.
A: Having grown up and just observing the trends around how my parents’ financial management impacted our home and my school experience, I definitely see the need as an individual. From Secondary School, whenever either my dad switched jobs, there would be that period when there was no money coming in. At some point we had to sell the house we lived in; just so he could be able to rent and use the extra money for school fees.
A: Same thing with University; my mother had passed and I had a bursary. It is basically a loan with the government, one which I will have to pay back eventually. So, from my own journey, believing that all my problems will be solved paycheque to paycheque, would be making a big mistake. For me personally, I need to look into what I can invest in to generate some wealth, for my future, for my kids. So I don’t have to go through what my parents went through. They had to work really hard for me to have a comfortable life.
Q: For the market and economy set up in Zambia; considering your personal dreams and goals, what kind of investing is practical.
A: At the moment, there are not many avenues for micro-capital investment. When I realised that; especially right now post pandemic, it is really hard to invest in anything in Zambia, with a small amount of capital. With that, I am looking around for a collective investment plan with people. I have personally tried cryptocurrency trading, and I lost quite a bit. I am still in the cryptocurrency field; looking at the more conservative side of it, for something that would work for me. That is a story for another day.
Q: Given your interests and shift in your professional journey into software development, what would you say is an avenue?
A: I personally think Software development is one field that can actually generate a lot of wealth for developers. Especially coming together as teams; investing in our up-skilling and self investing. Developing platforms and coming up with subscriptions models for the platforms. With what I have seen, you can go it alone or with people. I am new to investing, so I am open to the possibilities and opportunities.
… A really positive attitude to change…
Q: Like you are mentioning, having identified that there are different investing avenues with software development, could you give insight into some new trends in the market?
A: One thing that I have noticed is the integration of Fintech, however, the problem that we have is really hard given the regulations. To top it off, the officials who want to get a cut of the business before you even begin. The extent of this practice is just really a hinderance to the development in the technology sector
Q: From your point of view, is there a workaround to this challenge? Being bleak and hopeless to the situation, can not be an option, can it?
A: The best workaround is social capital. Who do you know? Go for events and meet some people, pitch your idea to them. Then the avenue of working around the road block you face can be handled together or receiving an offer of assistance to the steps for you to move forward. The people aspect of doing business as more layers that can be used as a resource.
… Fintech enables the users who are not included in the commercial financial service scale up and product design. It aim’s and targets users who have been left out in financial services traditionally binary designed; you are either cooperate or an individual. With more people requiring a different type of menu for financial services; change and adaptation on any front is essential, especially in Africa. The reach of customers and businesses is pretty different to hone in on…
Q: Having identified the space in the market around developing platforms and getting through regulations at some point. Can you maybe discuss a completely virtual platform and challenges that are faced around it?
A: So regulators come in when money comes in; defining how you are offering the service, how you are handling data, and operations in regards to finance. Depending on the type of licenses dictates which kind of regulatory body to deal with.
Q: From a summation of the challenges, from people, to rules and regulators, is getting a product to market; given the time lag, a major hump for fintech products?
Q: From the experiences and lessons you’ve learnt, any advise to young people getting into investing? Any advice or encouragement you’d give out…
A: Budgeting and understanding your finances is important on a personal level. I’ll share my current plan right now, its the 50–20–30 rule from any income that I get: from any income I get 20% goes to savings, 20% for spending on expenses of desires and 50% on my expenses, bills, running expenses which I can not leave out.
A: I have had to change it up a little though; 50–20–20–10; 50% for expenses, 20% on savings, 20% on desire expenses and my small celebrations and 10% on investing towards my future savings. This has helped with goal setting and making a model that provides steps to move forwards with.
Q: With the pandemic, what has your industry, software development been impacted?
A: Well it has been a win, I have been taking on more gigs. However, more research and regulation on new gigs have been a bit of a slow down, waiting to get that done, then proceeding has been the challenge.
Former Software Development Freelancer seeking employment post pandemic: Chanda Mulenga
Location: Lusaka, Zambia.
Fintech usage: Software as a Service platform development
An African Millennial Story to watch unfold……