Uganda’s Hostalite partners with Ethiopia’s top mobile payments company
Hostalite chief executive Dickson Mushabe travelled to Addis Ababa in July to launch Cinnamon, his company’s anchor product, at the ICT Expo Ethiopia. He returned to Kampala with a freshly inked partnership agreement with the owner of Ethiopia’s largest mobile payments solution provider.
The alliance with MOSS ICT – the owner of M-BIRR, the first mobile money service in Ethiopia – opens up opportunities for Hostalite.
‘This partnership will enable direct collections of investment clubs and savings groups from their Cinnamon wallets to banks via mobile money,’ Mushabe explained.
Cinnamon Clubs is a cloud-based management portal that helps clubs and savings groups manage their records and improve efficiency in collections, activity monitoring, financial analysis and reconciliation. The partnership with MOSS means that the premium club management software solutions provided by Cinnamon will now be available to investment clubs in Ethiopia.
Mushabe added: ‘We have also identified two other local companies from which we shall choose our [local Cinnamon] representative.’
NTF is ‘teaching us how to fish’The Kampala-based web and software development company was one of seven participants in the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Netherlands Trust Fund IV (NTF IV) project in Uganda that attended the five-day expo, Ethiopia’s largest information and communications technology (ICT) event.
‘This never would have happened if NTF IV never gave us this opportunity,’ Mushabe said.
NTF IV is based on a partnership between the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Dutch Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI). The project seeks to strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and influence policymakers and regulators to create a supportive environment for companies in Uganda’s information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services sector.
‘NTF IV has provided training, support in identifying markets, fine-tuning Hostalite’s export market plans and fostering business linkages with international customers,’ Mushabe said. ‘Through their generosity, we continue to enhance our company’s export competitiveness.’
‘I have said this before and I will repeat it,’ he added. ‘I like the fact that NTF IV is not giving us fish, but rather teaching us how to fish.’
Attracting new clients
NTF IV also arranged for three other Ugandan ICT companies – Crystal Clear, Exquisite Solutions and i3C – to attend ICT Expo Ethiopia. They were joined by representatives from the National Information Technology Authority, the Alliance for Trade in Information Technology and Services (ATIS), and the ICT Association of Uganda (ICTAU).
‘The ICT Expo Ethiopia presented good opportunities for SMEs intending to expand in Africa to meet with potential buyers,’ said Richard Okuti, national project coordinator for NTF IV. ‘It was therefore prioritized accordingly by NTF IV Uganda, in collaboration with ICTAU and ATIS, as an event to attend.’
The expo attracted local and foreign technology companies, private and public decision makers, integrators and users of ICT as well as tech start-ups and SMEs.