Cassava Fintech International (CFI), a subsidiary of the Econet Group, has announced the launch of Africa’s first integrated Social Payments platform branded Sasai.
The platform, which will be available to individuals and businesses, will be offered in partnership with Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).
It combines instant messaging, social media and mobile payments into one App which will be available for download on Google Play and iOS app stores from 1 August 2019.
A similar social payments platform model is already active in Asia, where payment apps such as WeChat bundle e-commerce, chat and ride-hailing services in one app.
Group CEO of CFI, Darlington Mandivenga said in London that the launch of Sasai is first time in Africa a company has developed a platform which marks the entrance of social messaging apps into the mobile money payments system.
It was also in response to the call by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) for mobile payment operators to embrace convergence with social payment platforms to create value addition for clients.
The initial release of Sasai will include Pay, Chat and Explore features to allow users to familiarise with the bedrock features of the platform. There will be scheduled monthly releases which will include queued additional features and on-boarded partners.
“We would like to walk the journey with our customers, listening to their feedback and understanding their needs, instead of front-loading so many, very exciting and game changing features all at once,” said Mr. Mandivenga.
While Chat and Explore features will be instantly available to the public globally, the payment features on Sasai will initially be available through the first partnership arrangement with Econet Wireless Mobile Network Group, which has business operations in Burundi, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.
Additional markets and MNO partnerships will be introduced across Africa on an ongoing basis with the aim of having at least eight markets going live by March 2020.
Mr Mandivenga said Sasai is a digital platform where social interactions and payments converge.
“It stitches and weaves into one platform features and services which are typically offered by separate companies via different mobile apps to become a one-stop shop without having to leave the app. Sasai is an All-in-One App to Pay, Chat and Explore,” he said