The second symposium of the Financial Inclusion Global Initiative in Cairo, Egypt, has hosted the first-ever FIGI Hackathon, challenging innovators to develop electronic payment apps attractive to small-scale merchants and their customers.
350 app developers applied to enter the competition. 55 developers, all from Egypt, were selected to compete by Hackathon facilitator RiseUp. As part of 13 teams, these 55 developers worked with open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) offered by 8 technology partners to develop apps with potential to incentivize electronic payment.
Following one day and one very long night of competition, 8 of the 13 teams remained, having succeeded in completing their apps.
Watch a Facebook Live video for interviews with participants or the highlights video below to see the FIGI Hackathon in action.
Judged by a jury of 10 experts in app development and financial inclusion, four apps were shortlisted as potential winners. Apps were judged on their degree of innovation, quality of user experience, feasibility and scalability.
The teams behind the shortlisted apps pitched their proposals to the FIGI Symposium audience, a diverse set of decision-makers in the public and private sector.
Team members: Ahmed Hisham Rihan, Salma Medhat Shaaban, Ahmed Zaki, Mohamed Hussein, Amr Ahmed Ali
“Of course many of us are not car experts. The app can help you determine the problem and find the right mechanic.” ~ Salma Medhat Shaaban
The ‘Mekaneeky’ app enables car owners to select a mechanic, book an appointment, avoid waiting in line, pay their bills and rate their experience. On the supply side, the app would help mechanics to learn more about their customers and keep a digital record of their transactions, business intelligence of considerable value in improving their business operations and accessing credit.
Team members: Alaa Lasheen, Amr Zakaria, Hady Seoudi
“There are 4 million commercial registers in Egypt, 2.8 million are active, and only 350,000 are banked; and that’s just the formal sector.” ~ Alaa Lasheen
The ‘Merchant Digital Identity’ app proposes to give digital ID to millions of small-scale merchants working in Egypt’s informal sector. By combining Egypt’s national debit card ‘Meeza’ with e-wallets and QR codes, the app would give small-scale merchants the digital ID required to enter formal supply chains and access microfinance.
Team members: Abeer Abdelmajeed, Hussein Gaber El Sayed, Mohamed Abdel Nabi Khalifa, Eslam Hussein Awad
“If I wanted to buy a car, saving 500 Egyptian Pounds a month would let me reach my goal in the amount of time planned, but I wouldn’t reach that goal if I lost track of my savings.” ~ Hussein Gaber El Sayed
The ‘Tillion’ app aims to assist consumers in staying on course towards their savings targets. The app would assist savers as well as banks, giving banks insight into the savings habits of their customers and enabling them to offer their customers guidance on investment decisions.
Team members: Lama Ahmed, Sarah Khaled, Yomna Abufrikha, Sarah Ayman
“Our app targets millions of Egyptian small merchants. The user-friendly app aims to increase financial inclusion by showing merchants first-hand how inclusion can benefit their business.” ~ Lama Ahmed
The app aims to connect small-scale merchants with the large corporates from whom they purchase goods. It incentivizes merchants to make use of their e-wallets by returning points for the use of electronic payments, points which could fund further purchases or alternatively be cashed-out.
FIGI is a three-year programme of collective action led by ITU, the World Bank Group and the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) of the Bank for International Settlements, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The initiative is designed to advance research in digital finance and accelerate digital financial inclusion in developing countries.
Watch the video below to learn more about FIGI.