Aion Sigma, the story so far
The “Dream” – How it started
One day a pan-African bank realized that they would want to offer smartphones to larger constituencies in their continent. The problem was lack of financial history, lack of credit scoring by people who never have been financially included. Their need clicked with Aion’s vision.
Aion’s vision from day one has been to enable trust and fair finance for everyone. Trust in people is necessary for financial inclusion — credit histories and loans. Access to the internet creates more equal societies with economic opportunities beyond what’s local. Aion’s role is to enable access to finance for hundreds of millions of people who lack documentation, steady jobs and credit history. Through Aion’s software and service solutions a path is forged from informal to formal finance and to an interoperable and inclusive ecosystem.
Area of focus
For the past few years, Aion have partnered with African companies who seek to offer solutions for financial and digital inclusion. The concept joins financial and digital inclusion.
- In Nigeria Aion is live with an ecosystem of players that include local companies – a phone manufacturer, a telecom operator and a bank. Benefits to the people Aion serves include access to bank account, credit limit, smartphone communications, health and household information, and full access to internet at affordable rates.
- Aion partners with Kenyan entrepreneurs, co-operatives and chamas to create and provide digital financial identity and access to smartphones.
- Aion’s research lab in Vietnam, in partnership with the Ho Chi Minh, university of science focuses on AI.
- Socially strong trust forms vary by culture, thus Aion looks to expand with partnerships in Nigeria, Kenya and other markets.
Challenges in the geographical areas of influence
In regard to scaling, Aion has solved a number of technical, business and user experience hindrances.
Retail distribution of phones and finance is a challenge.
The logistics networks are poor, power and internet outages common.
Yet, challenges are there to be solved. Today, Aion’s solution helps many finance and phone agents to earn a living – some of whom have little if any educational background and cannot read or write fluently. While mobile money has had low adoption rates in West Africa, Aion has introduced methods of accepting payments in different forms.
Capital controls have been a typical business hurdle in emerging markets until Bitcoin became a widely accepted currency for international payment settlements, which has opened new opportunities for value exchange.
Access to finance is one of the foremost challenges for financial inclusion related business in Africa. It affects both local partners in terms of trade finance as well as Aion. As a Nordic-environment based fintech with main markets in Africa (and Asia) Aion are bridging a long cultural distance, which for some is a great plus while for others a huge risk. While Aion sees the planet as a whole and are personally and professionally committed to positive global impact, they work with Oxygen 2050 to bring peer support and capital for financial inclusion. Aion is one of the founders of Oxygen 2050 — a network of impact entrepreneurs and investors for a better world.
Aion enables access to finance and digital life for more than 2500 households in Nigeria presently and growing. Partners are satisfied with customer acquisition and customer retention, which they have gained through employing Aion’s novel banking, credit and telecommunications service. 2500+ households currently receive improved access to jobs, educational opportunities and the information society at large. Aion empowers people to access health care information on disease prevention, women’s health, family planning, nutrition, hygiene, STD-prevention including HIV, and clean water, all of which respond to the vital needs of hundreds of millions.
The Nordic effort
The Nordics are known for their high-trust based societies – boasting humanities, technology, design, talent and ability to create impact companies. We invite global impact financiers to join us in bridging the Nordic Fintech companies with Africa and other emerging markets. Society driven design, equal partnerships starting with the employees, partners, customers and other stakeholders add up to a combination that generates meaningful, notable impacts and progress. Aion’s capabilities in blockchain and Nordics-inspired MyData movement serve as a strong basis to deliver consumer data centric fair finance.
The Financial Inclusion Summit takes place in Oslo, Norway, on 28 March 2019. To find out more or request an invitation, visit: https://financial-inclusion.com/#register
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