Uganda

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Ugandan member secures first money remittance license in Africa

Katende, Ssempebwa & Co Advocates [“KATS”] has successfully advised BT Payment Services, a Fintech- digital- money remittance services provider on the licensing of its operations in Uganda by the Bank of Uganda.

BT Payments Services Limited, a Ugandan financial technology company with roots in Kenya provides a secure web-based money remittance option that allows the seamless transfer of money from Uganda to a number of companies including Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Senegal, the UK, the EU and Morocco in a host of different currencies. The unique value proposition presented by BT Payments Services Limited is that their customers are able to send money in their own currency to recipients in different countries at no extra/additional cost in a relatively short period. BT Payments is ubiquitous since it is internet based at mybfx.co/ and it has a relatively simple interface that is easy to use.

KATS advised BT Payments Services Limited on the process of securing regulatory approval to carry out what is essentially electronic money remittance in Uganda. This is a first for Uganda and Africa since the legal and regulatory environment on the continent has evolved much slower than technology such that the laws in place in Uganda envisage brick and mortar businesses in an era of e-commerce and digitalization of society. The outdated and in some cases obsolete legal regulation in respect to financial services presents an interesting obstacle for budding fintech business looking to invest in Uganda. It is tragic to consider that whereas there exists technology to enable Africa at large to close the financial inclusion gap and possibly leapfrog into an era of financial competitiveness on a global scale, these opportunities are hindered by a regulatory gap caused by old or non-existent regulations.

In a major first, the Bank of Uganda breathed life into the 2006-era financial regulations to license BT Payments Services Limited a digital money remittance services firm providing services purely over the internet through interaction with other secure money transmission media and services. This progressive and tech savvy spirit reared its head in the consideration of BT Payments Services Limited with the regulator demonstrating forward thinking and innovative regulatory reasoning. The Bank of Uganda placed emphasis on the key aspects of regulatory oversight, monitoring and most importantly customer protection to ensure that the product offered by BT Payments Services Limited was a fundamentally sound one and on establishing that it proceeded to license BT Payments.

We commend the Central Bank for its foresight and progressive attitude in the licensing of Bt Payments Services and congratulate Bt Payments Services Limited on this momentous milestone.

The KATS team which advised on this process was led by partner Alice Namuli and included associate Patrick Mugalula.

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