Two-thirds of the African population don’t have access to traditional financial services, says Wleepay founder and CEO Lionel Bernard. Because of this, he started Wleepay, a company that offers mobile financial services to the unbanked in Africa. “The word Wlee is used by certain tribes on the west coast of Africa, it literally means money,” Lionel says.
Wleepay is currently available in his home country of Liberia and will soon expand to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast. According to Lionel, banks in Africa are scarce and target only high-end customers, leaving the average person with low income to the unbanked population.
Wleepay will address the lack of financial inclusion in Africa by offering its potential customers some attractive features. “Our fees are way lower than competitors. In some cases, our competitors are charging 20% in transaction fees. We’re charging between 2 and 5%,” he explains. “The other thing we’re providing is better customer service, which is something you can’t get with others. We also provide a crypto wallet.” The mobile financial service company also plans to onboard small businesses such as street vendors and taxi drivers onto the platform to accept payment through Wleepay’s QR code.
Lionel left his software engineering career in the United States to pursue entrepreneurship in Liberia. As he tells Charles Miller on this episode of CoinGeek Conversations, Wleepay allowed him to pursue entrepreneurship whilst also making a social impact. “The entrepreneur in me is eager to leverage this opportunity because I see the problems that exist, and I believe that we can provide a better service to the unbanked in that part of the world. The social impact component of all of this is that a lot of unbanked folks that live in rural areas especially simply don’t have an alternative. They’re being taken advantage of in terms of pricing, in terms of quality of service, in terms of lack of better financial services that allow them to transact across borders,” he asserts.
Repolify: Creating effective communication between government and society
Also speaking to Charles on the show is Artur Lucyk, co-founder and CEO of Repolify, a platform that also aims to solve a social problem, this time, in the democratic system of government. “Repolify is a blockchain-based platform that will engage citizens in the political process,” Artur says. “It is designed to revitalize democracy and provide people with updates on the political process or political decisions on a national and local level.”
The platform allows users to see updates on existing laws, new and pending bills, as well as other developments in government pertaining to their topic of choice. A user can choose between topics like the environment, social welfare and taxation to receive updates on, after which, users are allowed to comment or give feedback on a specific issue. Additionally, users can access names of politicians in charge of government projects, which in turn can help voters make informative choices come election day.
Artur was keen to point out that Repolify aims to offer quality content. “We will have journalists and policy professionals supervise and oversee the quality of content and kind of the level of engagement, make sure this really works and provides value,” he asserts.
The platform will also use artificial intelligence to simplify and compress lengthy government documents for its users. “What we are trying to achieve is more simplicity, more understanding, and more awareness into what’s going on.”
Artur, a lawyer by profession, had his share of experience protesting the government in his home country Poland. He says there isn’t enough understanding of government policies within the country. With Repolify, he aims to create an efficient solution to the way government and society communicate with each other.
Watch Lionel and Artur on the second edition of CoinGeek Conversations’ Block Dojo 2023 series.
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