As a child, Martin Tumusiime watched households and businesses frustrated with uncollected wastes in Kampala suburbs that sometimes could end up in water channels, streets, or burned.
His experience inspired him and his four colleagues – Gideon Mpungu, Lubowa Enock, Namuli Brenda, and Rogers Kibuule – to develop a waste management mobile app known as Yo-Waste in 2018. The app allows anyone with a smartphone phone to instantly request for garbage collection and is connected to the nearest available garbage truck collectors in their communities.
But Tumusiime’s dream, whose company now serves more than 1,300 customers in Kampala and Entebbe, only came to reality when MTN Mobile Money Uganda Ltd granted the team access to the MTN Mobile Money Access Programming Interface (API) upon emerging as one of the winners of MTN MoMo Hackathon in 2019. MTN Uganda’s open API platform unveiled in 2018 enables developers and programmers to get free access to MTN mobile money’s proprietary software platform to create products that ease payment options, leveraging on MTN mobile money clients.
“Payment for waste collection is the biggest challenge in this business. The collection is usually only about 70%, and it is expensive,” said Tumusiime, who now leads a team of 26 staff. “With the integration of our system to that of MTN Mobile Money, we are able to collect almost 100% of our generated revenues because invoices and payments are made via mobile money and this helps us minimize operational costs.”
Tumusiime said the Yo-Waste app earns them an average of Shs 10,000 and Shs 30,000 per month from each of their customers based on the volume of their waste, frequency of collection, and location. Uganda has in the past three years recorded growth in start-up businesses ideas making progress following MTN Uganda’s bold decision to grant them access to MTN Mobile Money Access Programming Interface (API) to develop new digital products and services to improve efficiency, productivity and income.
These among others include; Easy Matatu – a mobile app that enables carpooling using matatus, AppAbout – an online platform that enables customers to make reservations in cinemas, bars and restaurants for a perfect day or night with friends, and Powell Pay – a virtual wallet that enables schools to receive fees payments from parents by transferring the fund to the School’s registered bank account via mobile platform.
Easy Matatu has since received support from Renew Capital, an impact investment firm focused on developing small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa, to help expand minibus ride sharing app in various African cities. Easy Matatu customers use smartphones to reserve their rides on well-maintained vehicles with experienced and well-paid drivers who take them on a faster, safer and more comfortable commute.
AppAbout, meanwhile, is currently serving five cinemas, 35 bars and 40 restuarants mostly in Kampala whereas Powell Pay is serving tens of schools in fees collections across the country. The recent innovation ideas that won the 2022 MTN MoMo Hackathon – E-wage system, MpaMpe and E-Pay –are also expected to graduate into viable businesses riding on the MTN Mobile Money Access Programming Interface (API). The e-wage payment system is a web-based application that seeks to facilitate single payment of casual workers via their mobile phones.
MpaMpe is a digital hybrid crowd-funding application that seeks to bridge the gap between the needy or campaigners and funders or sponsors to support their ideas through a transparent model and accountability of funds while M-Pay seeks to enable MTN Uganda subscribers to make bulk payments to different people with a single click of a button. Richard Yego, the Managing Director at MTN Mobile Money Uganda Ltd said the company is proud that the MTN Mobile Money open Access Programming Interface (API) is empowering the country’s youths to be self-reliant at the time access to jobs has become limited.
“We are so happy that our decision to have prospective innovators access our MTN Mobile Money platform to create new solutions is yielding fruits,” he said. “We are seeing many youths now riding on our platform to come up with new solutions that have been monetized and now employing more other youths and thus help address the current challenge of unemployment.” Yego said MTN is currently implementing the Ambition 2025 Strategy premised on leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress.