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Interswitch acquires Uganda’s Bankom, establishes strong presence in Africa

By Babajide Komolafe

Interswitch Nigeria Limited has acquired Uganda’s premier transaction switching company, Bankom Uganda limited. This follows the sale of a 60 percent stake in the company by Paesacom and Cashnet to the Interswitch Group.

Consequently, and after seven years of pioneering transaction switching technology, Bankom Uganda Limited, has rebranded into Interswitch (East Africa) Uganda Limited.

Speaking at the official presentation of the new corporate brand identity in Kampala, the chairman of Bankom, Mr. William Kalema, said Bankom has been working with the Bank of Uganda and member banks to provide a shared interbank switching infrastructure with a fair amount of success. “The sale provides inorganic growth opportunities in new markets and opportunities to deepen the offering to stakeholders”.

Headquartered in Lagos, Interswitch pioneered real_time online transaction switching and processing serving over 30 million customers across West Africa, through direct and strategic partnerships. It recently won competitive bids to collaborate with the Central Bank and (Bankers Committee) of Gambia and Sierra Leone to design, implement and manage the national switches.

Addressing guests drawn from Ugandan financial institutions, government, utility companies, corporate organizations and educational institutions at the launch, Mr Mitchell Elegbe, Interswitch Group’s CEO and Managing Director, said Interswitch is proud to be in East Africa. Noting that its customers often want to achieve cost efficiency and maximise revenues.

“Because of this, we’ve found that we are successful when our customers are successful and that’s why we try to tailor our solutions to fit their needs. We intend to build on Bankom’s legacy, by sharing our successes and creating new solutions together wherever possible”, he added.

With multi_channel innovative solutions such as Quickteller (a value added service platform), Paydirect (a payment collections, lodgment and monitoring solution), Autopay (a payment disbursements, lodgment and monitoring solution), Retailpay (a payment solution that enables merchants manage cash and inventory), Verve (Debit, Credit, Prepaid and Charge Cards), and MasterCard Verve (a co_branded payment card for domestic and international markets); Interswitch is positioned to serve customers with Africa wide aspirations.

The average Ugandan carries more than three ATM cards. Mobile money has revolutionized payments and money transfers; however there are challenges with loading cash on mobile phones. In her address, Interswitch (East Africa) Uganda’s Chief Executive Officer, Charlotte Kaheru, noted that East Africa has taken significant strides in electronic payments. However, there is yet “a lot to be done”. As Africa moves into the electronic age, “the time is right to broaden and deepen the services we offer financial institutions, government, utility providers, corporate organizations and individuals”, she added.

She informed that an integrated super switch that provides online, real_time transaction switching and enables interoperability between financial institutions, businesses, government parastatals, utility companies and individuals 24/7 is required.


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