In the first ever edition of the Kenyan Wall Street’s Investing Like an Executive series, the Africa Fintech Summit’s Andrew Barden sat down with Joseph Mucheru, the President of JUMO and the former Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Kenya’s Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs under President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Focusing on both Mr. Mucheru’s personal and professional lives, the conversation started off by exploring what the transition from the public sector to the private sector has been like for him since completing his tenue as CS in 2022.
What is it like returning to the private sector after serving in government?
“The transition from private sector, where I was heading Google in Africa, then getting into government, was a huge step where you quickly must learn about politics and the issues that need to be dealt with. When you are in government, your scope is endless; you deal with everyone and everything… Coming back to the private sector was much easier because you can operate with a much more focused view on society and the things you need to do,” stated Mr. Mucheru.
Pivoting the conversation to Mr. Mucheru’s current position with JUMO, our full discussion explored an array of topics including JUMO’s rapid growth, proprietary credit scoring models, and plans for future expansion.
What is JUMO?
“I have always had this passion to help put money into people’s pockets and ensuring more and more Africans have access to the finance they need. JUMO is one of those companies utilizing both finance and technology to provide the banking infrastructure that [institutions] require to reach those Africans in need of greater financial access,” stated Mr. Mucheru when summarizing JUMO’s value proposition for the economy.
How is JUMO using AI?
One of the interesting points in the conversation with Mr. Mucheru was regarding how JUMO has been leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) in its business model for several years. “Artificial intelligence is what we use to conduct our credit scoring… AI requires data over time so we have been able to collect that over the years and we can show institutions to a very high accuracy, the likelihood of an individual to pay back those loans.”
How many loans has JUMO processed?
Since 2015, JUMO has processed over $5 billion USD in loans to over 22 million people and small businesses. With current plans to expand into Nigeria, Cameroon, and Benin, JUMO will soon be available in nine countries across Africa. When asked what factors help guide JUMO’s decision to expand in a new market, Mr. Mucheru highlighted several things including mobile phone penetration, network reliability, and notably, the state of the local regulatory framework.
Concluding the conversation with some personal questions, Mr. Mucheru advised young people in Kenya and around the globe to build an understanding of how society functions and the role that technology and innovation can play to further humanity.