KENYA – Kenyan startup Empower Smart Limited has launched the region’s first fully automated digital escrow app in a bid to streamline the E-Commerce sector.
An escrow is a financial and legal agreement designed to protect Buyers and Sellers in a transaction. For a fee, an independent third party holds payment until everyone fulfills their responsibilities in the transaction.
With a digital escrow payment, the Seller will only access the received funds when the Buyer remotely unlocks it from his app once satisfied with the delivered product.
Empower Smart Limited Founder Peter Muraya says the app dubbed “Empower Smart App” will improve trade in the region and the world by protecting buyers and sellers from being scammed through its suite of payment products under Empower Wallet.
“Online purchase scams will now be a thing of the past, as you can now send an advance locked payment to the seller,” he said adding that the app is available on Google Play Store.
“The money leaves the buyers wallet and is temporarily held under digital escrow until the product is delivered. The buyer then unlocks the payment from his app and the seller now can access and withdraw the previously locked funds. An unhappy customer can request reversal of locked funds from the app.”
The firm is targeting Kenya’s growing E-Commerce sector that is adversely affected by scammers.
“Empower Smart is helping create exponential growth in the ecommerce space and creating trust in online trades and in large transactions like land and cars,” he explained.
“This is using its innovative and truly revolutionary Digital Escrow Payment Platform available on the Empower Smart App.”
The move comes as the Kenyan government issued a warning over the skyrocketing fraud cases online, cautioning Kenyans to be extra vigilant while engaging in digital transactions.
Last year the Director of Public Prosecutions (DCI) George Kinoti advised Kenyans to be on the lookout for well-crafted fraudulent shopping scams as the festive season approached.
Injini launches Think Tank
Meanwhile in South Africa, Injini, an education-tech non-profit organisation, is launching a think tank aimed at providing entrepreneurs in the space with access to market research and to advocate for educational reform.
Injini, which was part-founded by the Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative (CiTi) and has run a number of accelerator programmes for ed-tech startups in Africa, says the Injini Think Tank (ITT) is the research, advisory and advocacy division of the organisation.
The ITT aims to support ed-tech entrepreneurs through relevant market research, support corporate initiatives in achieving their commitments toward educational outcomes, and to advocate for educational reform through the provision and distribution of evidence-based research.
“We have always had the objective of improving educational outcomes on the continent with an approach that is centred around supporting ed-tech entrepreneurs from across Africa,” said Injini’s executive head Krista Davidson.
“Our new research offering has allowed us to expand our mandate to ensure that we are including all stakeholders in the education value chain, which we hope will drive the quality, accessibility and relevance of education in Africa in the right direction.”
Injini chairperson and CiTi director Brendan Hughes said ed-tech startups across Africa are a tool for quality and accessible education.
“We need to support such initiatives as a collective to empower young Africans through quality education. The Injini Think Tank division is one of the solutions that we need to solve Africa’s education crisis,” he said.
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