08 Decent work and economic growth
  • Original Title: awamo – mobile software solution for microfinance lenders in Africa
  • Year: 2015
  • Award: WSA European Young Innovators
  • Category: European Young Innovators
  • Producer: Roland Claussen, Philip Neub, Benedikt Kramer
  • Organisation: awamo
  • Country: Germany
  • URL:
 Awamo offers a complete credit- and risk management solution for microfinance institutions (MFIs) in sub-Saharan Africa. It opens up the market for low-income borrowers by providing MFIs with affordable, comprehensive digital solutions that capture borrower data using fingerprints for identification, monitor MFI operations in real-time, and generate credit reports – all of which decrease interest rates and increase financial inclusion.

Currently, MFIs offer financial services to those without access to banks, but due to high default rates, charge annual interest rates of over 60%, which small enterprises cannot afford. Using a tablet PC with awamo software and an attached fingerprint scanner, MFIs can record every client interaction via the Mobile Office, allowing MFIs and their clients to create accounts, check credit scores, handle loan disbursement and repayment, and make deposits and withdrawals.

For the first time, data can be captured in-field and transmitted to a secure, cloud-hosted database via the mobile network. MFIs can instantly access the data via a web-based management, monitoring, and reporting system. The emerging database is the starting point for credit reporting. Enabling access to finance for small scale farmers & business owners in remote areas, catalyses local markets & benefits communities. In contrast to other MFI IT-systems which are confined to PC interfaces, awamo offers a mobile solution that digitizes every client interaction from the start.



Jury Evaluation:

“Awamo stands out as a start-up with great potential in the Money Matters category by scoring highly in at least five of the EYA jury criteria: content, innovation, initiative, impact and social value. Firstly, the project scores very well on the “content” criterion by clearly identifying a core cause for the lack of access to credit for small and medium-sized enterprises. awamo then proposes a tech solution meant to present substantial advantages not only to borrowers and lenders but also to donors, government and regulators. The “biometric, mobile and easy to use microfinance management solution ‘out of the box’” that they offer stands out through its creativity and novelty, therefore scoring highly on the innovation criterion. awamo stands out as a great entrepreneurial initiative, given its purpose of filling a substantial gap on the Ugandan market and that of sub-Saharan African countries more widely. awamo has proven its potential for impact having already been tested in the Ugandan market in a pilot project. Finally, awamo stands out through its great social value. At a time when the European reaction to the refugee crisis spells out clear delimitations between Europeans and “the rest” and implies a limited European responsibility for what happens in its neighbourhood areas, awamo looks outward. It is a superb example of Europeans reaching out to improve the lives of non-Europeans by exporting technology and taking the lead in its on the ground implementation. That said, it would be highly beneficial for the Awamo creators to illustrate how their solution works concretely by doing a demo of sorts during their Graz pitch session.” – EYA Grand Jury Report