Kotani Pay partners with BezoMoney & RIO to enable UBI Payments to Refugees in Ghana

Kotani Pay
5 min readAug 26, 2021

Last week we made an announcement following our launch in Ghana. This partnership with Bezo Money and RIO will see us empower the 1200+ refugees in Ghana’s Krisan and Ampain camps with access to Universal Basic Income.

Kotani Pay: What is BezoMoney?

BezoMoney: BezoMoney is a FinTech startup based in Accra, Ghana that is into the development and deployment of digital financial products and services for the unbanked and young individuals. Our flagship product is a digital savings platform called BezoSusu, available at www.bezosusu.com with the tagline Save up, Grow Together.

BezoSusu is built on an easy-to-use Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) interface for feature phones and smartphones alike without internet connectivity. Users simply dial the short code *920*75# .The platform is also connected to mobile money services in Ghana which makes it easily accessible and convenient for our users. Our entry market, Ghana, is the fastest growing mobile money market in Africa allowing us to leverage mobile money to grow.

BezoSusu offers personal and group savings features which allows users to set and achieve their savings goals by making transactions using their Mobile Money wallets while building a savings score. Users can enjoy benefits such as discounts on purchases and payments and also leverage their savings score to access credit from the formal financial institutions we partner with. The platform is free to sign-up and free to use which means that deposits and withdrawals between a user’s mobile money wallet and their BezoSusu Account come at no cost to the user.

Kotani Pay: What are some of the advantages of using BezoMoney over traditional products?

BezoMoney: BezoMoney raised $300,000 from two investors (MEST Africa and GOODsoil VC) for product and business development, team expansion and marketing of BezoSusu.

We differentiate ourselves from the competition by leveraging USSD and mobile money and by providing a 360-degree suite of digital financial services comprising savings, loans, pensions and investments all tailored to the informal sector, students and workers.

Traditional savings schemes have problems:

  • Records are poor with high service charges,
  • Participation is risky because transactions are cash-based and the money is stored in boxes subjecting it to theft, mismanagement and loss in value
  • Members are unable to build savings and credit histories excluding them from the formal financial system.

BezoSusu solves these problems by helping them save effectively and safely, build a savings history, get easy access to formal financial services and upward social mobility. Additionally, members earn 9% interest per annum on their savings and pay lesser fees than they would using the traditional savings scheme.

Sign up here to integrate with Kotani Pay.

Here are the step by step processes a user goes through to create a personal savings goal: User selects option 2 (Savings) on the BezoSusu USSD Menu, selects what they are saving for, how long they want to save, how often they want to save, how much they want to save and whether or not they want to lock their savings to prevent impulsive withdrawals. Users also have the option to select if they want their deposits to be made automatically or they want to do it manually. Auto-deduction means that users will allow their mobile money wallets to be automatically debited of a fixed amount at a date and time they set. Manual deposit means that users will dial the short code *920*75#, select option 3 (Self-Deposit) and follow the steps to make a deposit into their BezoSusu Account.

Kotani Pay: What are some of the challenges refugees/migrants in Ghana face regarding finance?

BezoMoney: Although benevolent organizations are available to assist refugees/migrants in Ghana with livelihood empowerment programs and financial relief. However, their challenge is usually around how to disburse the funds to these target groups in a transparent and traceable manner to promote accountability of funds and facilitate monitoring and evaluation reports.

BezoSusu has a unique feature that makes disbursement of donor funds to vulnerable populations seamless and efficient.

For example, when funds are received in foreign currencies, we are able to disburse them to the beneficiaries in Ghana Cedis in the way the donor instructs. A Universal Basic Income (UBI) project we are currently supporting with our BezoSusu technology has made it possible and very easy for refugees in selected camps in Ghana to access the Ghana Cedi equivalent of 1.50 celo dollars (approximately 8 Ghana Cedis) on a daily basis. Before BezoSusu, the refugees always experienced delays in accessing the UBI due to the cumbersome nature of the manual UBI transfer processes.

We are very grateful to be part of this breakthrough because through the power of BezoSusu, refugees now not only have access to their UBI funds at the click of a button on their smartphones or feature phones, they also have the option of saving up some of those funds to invest in their future.

Kotani Pay: What makes Blockchain suitable for this use case?

BezoMoney: The decentralization nature of blockchain makes it suitable for this particular project.

Kotani Pay: What was it like working with the Kotani Pay API?

BezoMoney: Working with the Kotani Pay API was fast and easy to integrate. What I loved about this was the technical support provided throughout the process.

Kotani Pay: What excites you about the partnership with Kotani Pay?

BezoMoney: This partnership comes with a lot of benefits to the refugees in Ghana. They almost don’t need to know about crypto currency as all they need is to claim their daily funds via our USSD interface.

About BezoMoney

BezoMoney provides a social savings platform that helps low-income earners save effectively, have access to bulk capital through group savings and boost their creditworthiness. We ensure transparency of transactions, accountability of members and security of savings.

About Kotani Pay

Kotani Pay enables businesses to process stablecoin payments to SMS phone users in Africa.

Are you a FinTech that needs an off-ramp in Africa? Sign up here to integrate with Kotani Pay.

--

--

Kotani Pay

Our purpose here is to write great stories that inspire people to follow their unique path in life and explore ideas around making money beautiful.