Hostalite spreads wings to Ethiopia

Hostalite, a Ugandan web and software development company is celebrating another milestone with the establishment of its footprint in Ethiopia. The company’s Ethiopian subsidiary was launched on June 4 in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital where it is trading as Cinnamon.
According to a statement issued by Hostalite Chief Executive Officer Dickson Mushabe, the company entered into a partnership agreement with MOSS ICT which will enable investment clubs in Ethiopia to take advantage of the premium club management software solutions provided by Cinnamon.
Developed by Hostalite, Cinnamon Clubs is a cloud-based management portal that has helped several clubs and savings groups to manage their records and improve their efficiency in collections, activity monitoring, financial analysis, and reconciliation.
Its features and processes are developed for a typical investment club, micro-finance institution, or SACCO. It is fully integrated to cover all aspects of club management right from membership to collections, penalties, meetings, investments, loan management, and accounting (reports). Cinnamon eliminates the need for complex Excel sheets and bulky write-ups.
MOSS ICT owns M-BIRR, Ethiopia’s largest mobile payments solution provider. The partnership with Hostalite will enable direct collections of investment club savings from mobile money wallets to
M-BIRR is a mobile money service, provided by a group of five partnering Ethiopian financial institutions. It enables the banked and unbanked people of Ethiopia to conduct financial transactions from the convenience of their mobile phones 24/7. It is the only payments service to allow across-MFI and bank payments.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, Endashaw Tesfaye, the Commercial Manager for MOSS ICT welcomed the partnership with Hostalite.
“This has been the missing ingredient in the savings industry in Ethiopia,” Tesfaye said. He explained that the prevailing situation had been for savings groups to collect money and give it to individuals in a rotational format, and on monthly basis. With this, the biggest challenge has been record-keeping and poor attendance of monthly meetings.
“The club administrator ends up having to move to the club members’ shops and residences to collect money in order to hand it to the month’s recipient,” Tesfaye said.
This tiresome and rudimentary system will now come to an end as a more efficient option can now be offered. Ethiopia boasts of being the 14th fastest-growing economy in the world and is attracting a great deal of foreign direct investment. The challenge, however, is that over 40% of the economy is in the informal sector. The limitations in regulation have led to difficulties like young people working in unsafe conditions. Village Savings Associations for the Youth are helping to transform the lives
of these young people.
At the signing ceremony, Mushabe expressed excitement over the fact that Africa is now able to use her own resources to find solutions to Africa’s challenges.
“Our decision to come to Ethiopia was in response to the many signups from Ethiopian savings groups in the last few months. The interest from this region has shown us that there is a demand for the solutions that Cinnamon Clubs software has to offer,” Mushabe said.
The project is supported by the Netherlands Trust Fund (NTF4).
“NTF4 has provided training, support in identification of markets, fine-tuning Hostalite’s export market plans, and fostering business linkages with international customers. Through their generosity, we continue to enhance our company’s export competitiveness,” Mushabe said.
“Our product is ready for any market as long as we find a suitable mobile payments partner,” he added.