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We all know Chamas, right? Chama is a Swahili word for Rotating Savings and Credit Association (ROSCAs). It is a system where a group of people agrees to contribute money for a specific period, thereby saving and borrowing together. The idea is simple - after a month or week(s), depending on the agreements you have in place, where you simply deposit money into your account and loan it out to another member who agrees to pay back what they have borrowed.
I just learned about a startup in Egypt called Money Fellows that is digitizing these ROSCAs and the idea is exciting. The digitization of money is one of the most relevant and important innovations in this century. It has changed our lives in a very profound way.
The digitization of money is a hugely important process in African societies. Digitization allows for cheaper and more efficient ways to transfer money from one place to another and for businesses to easily exchange information with each other using different electronic systems.
Creating a digital version of the ROSCAs will be one of many ways to improve financial stability. By linking people’s savings credits, there will be an incentive for people to save, and the system could also be used as a substitute for checking accounts.