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Prize 22 June 2022

M2 Finance student wins an award for his banking application

Amadou Boukari, a student in the Master 2 Finance and Information Technology programme at TSM, won second prize in the Finance and Innovation for Good competition. His project? A banking application that can be used by everyone, including more than 750 million people in the world who cannot read or write. Find out more about his background and why his idea will revolutionise the world of banking in our interview!

 

  • How did you get to TSM?

I am Togolese and I arrived in France in 2017. I started my studies at UT1 and I entered TSM in the 3rd year of the Marketing degree. I then continued with the Master 1 Finance and I am currently in the 2nd year of the Master Finance and Information Technology, still at TSM.

 

  • How did you come up with the idea for your banking application?

Before coming to France, I was a self-employed entrepreneur for 6 years in Africa. I travelled a lot in West Africa, such as the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso and Benin. What you need to know is that, over there, it is normal to queue for more than an hour under the sun to access your bank. I, myself, thought it was normal until I arrived in France. 

I was very surprised to see that there were no people queuing in front of French banks. That's when I realised there was a problem. 

Africa is the continent with the least access to banks in the whole world. Not all Africans have a bank account and you already have to queue for an hour in front of the banks. Imagine if all Africans had an account? All this does not encourage banking. 

 

  • How does the banking application you are proposing work?

You should know that 45% of West Africans are illiterate. So even if we gave them access to a digital bank, they would not be able to use it.

I therefore proposed, during the Finance and Innovation for Good competition, an application that can be used by everyone regardless of language or ability. It is simple, fun and intuitive to access one's accounts easily.

Several techniques are used so that anyone, illiterate or not, can consult their bank accounts and make transactions. This was proven with the POC of the application I made for the competition. However, I can't talk about it in depth yet, as it is still under development.
 

  • In what context did you participate in the Finance and Innovation for Good competition?

I found out about this competition following a mailing sent by TSM to students in the Finance department. The theme was "Imagining the bank of the future". It immediately spoke to me and echoed the project I was working on.

Moreover, the prize for the winner was 7,000 euros. By winning the second prize, I still received 5,000 euros which will allow me to invest in my application and implement it.

 

  • What are your plans after TSM?

I am currently trying to get in touch with the competition partners (HSBC, Google, SIA Partners...) in order to benefit from the network and the expertise they can bring to me to build my application. I am also in contact with Pépite France.

Thanks to the money from the competition, I was able to create a team to continue the development of the application, the first functional version of which should not be long in coming. I also contacted French banks in West Africa to see how to implement the application in the banks and which banks would be interested.

I'm sure I'll find takers, because it meets a real need. 

 

  • Do you have a message for the banks to encourage them to trust you?

Yes, it's not up to the client to adapt to the banking system, but the opposite. Currently this is not the case. 

We need to contribute to the development of emerging regions and to help with banking by making banking services accessible to all. This also makes it possible to capture part of the underground savings that have long escaped the banks and that will be used to finance the economic development of these regions. My application can contribute to this and I am willing to work on improving it until it is suitable for absolutely ALL its customers.