I have been the technical team lead of arguably the foremost data analytics team facilitating mobile lending services in East Africa. I work as a Research Scientist and a Technical Team Lead at the IBM Africa Research Lab in Nairobi, Kenya. Mobile lending services offer instant microloans that are immediately availed to borrowers through their mobile wallets. Most of them also allow their customers to save and earn interest. The lenders using our algorithms have the lowest default rates in the market and the highest profitability margins per customer.
The crowning achievement of my work was the market launch of our flagship mobile lending product in Uganda this year. This was the first ever financial product of this kind in that country. In less than four months the service signed up more than 1.2 million customers (60% above target), and facilitated loans of more than 1.4 million US dollars to about a quarter of the customers. At these uptake and activity levels, the potential of this product to impact the country’s and Africa’s huge unbanked population is clear. I am currently also leading a project to implement a land registry and administration system using blockchain. I am, therefore, in a unique position to elucidate the impact these cutting edge innovations in Africa.