Developed by AKF in partnership with Selcom and Bankable Frontier Associates, the Digital Savings Groups Platform, branded as Boresha Maisha in Tanzania, allows members to transact digital money by paying into a common platform from their mobile wallets of choice. Members trade cash for digital money at an agent and then transact from their phones using a private PIN number. Group members can do this at any time, without having to wait for the next group meeting. Meetings are instead used to review savings and loan repayment activity, check financial statements, and assess new loan requests. A customized accounting platform acts as the interface between the mobile wallet provider and the bank, keeping track of deposits made and requesting disbursement of funds when the group takes out a loan.
The application is designed to function in low bandwidth environments and to work with basic feature mobile phones. The user fee for transacting on this platform is about $5 per member per cycle to cover back-end costs. Converting digital money into cash incurs additional cost from the mobile wallet issuer and is borne entirely by members.
AKF plans to mobilize 48,000 Digital Savings Groups in Tanzania by 2022, reducing training costs to below $5 per group, and continue to mobilize and train Digital Savings Groups on a full cost-recovery basis.