Amica Sacco CEO James Mbui and chairperson Nelson Muchiri.
Amica Savings and Credit is banking on its new mobile application to hit its annual revenue targets amid an improving business environment in the country.
Sacco’s chief executive James Mbui said that the mobile App – Amicash, will initially target the SME market segment for swift access to a variety of banking, money transfer and payment services from the comfort of their mobile phones.
The company is aiming to hit in excess of Sh1.2 billion in total annual revenue by the end of 2022 – as it seeks to surpass the Sh978 million it posted for the year ended December 2021.
“It is an innovative product that offers seamless transactions tailored to suit the needs of our SME market which is an important segment of our business and such innovations will be very critical if we are to achieve our set targets for the year,” commented Mbui in an interview.
Since the pandemic hit more than two years ago, small businesses were presented with unprecedented challenges including lockdowns, containment measures, with demand shifts in response to Covid-19 pushing many MSMEs to the brink.
During the pandemic period, a growing number of businesses including public offices turned to digital payments as a way to avoid direct contact with cash to avoid the virus’ spread.
Indeed, increasing the availability and usage of digital merchant payments has been a key driver in Kenya’s journey towards becoming a cash-lite economy.
Data from Safaricom’s Results Booklet shows that between March 2020 and March 2021 there was a 43 per cent increase in the number of active Lipa na M-PESA agents and a 75 per cent increase in the number of merchant tills.
This shows not only that many more businesses are accepting digital payments for the first time but also that those businesses already using digital payments are acquiring new tills, presumably to keep up with increased customer demand.
Access to affordable funding became more limited to such businesses after the pandemic, and while Mbui admits that the firm extended loan term reliefs and moratoriums, the majority of SMEs were forced to trim their workforce to remain afloat, while others were pushed out of business completely.
Available data by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) shows that the value of business-to-business (B2B) transfers between October and December 2020, for instance, rose to over Sh1.7 trillion – nearly double the pre-pandemic value.
B2B transfers accounted for 39 per cent of the total value transferred through mobile money networks in the review period.