Selcom: Harnessing the potential for inclusive innovative growth

Thursday June 24 2021
Selcom pic

Selcom Chief Strategy Officer, Ms Rushika Pattni.

By Josephine Christopher

With a rapidly developing innovation ecosystem, Tanzania is well-placed to be an important player in the global digital economy, especially with its growing efforts on mobile finance and the digital payments sector. While this has had a direct positive impact on the number of companies innovating on digital solutions domestically, there is also a growing demand for high-skilled jobs directly tied to the digital trade, digital entrepreneurship and e-commerce sectors. Selcom, as the largest cross-segment financial and payment service provider, has been at the pioneering front of aligning all these objectives through its own products and role in the market.
 In an interview with The Citizen, the Chief Strategy Officer, Ms Rushika Pattni, explained how the company has prioritized digital inclusion by embarking on programs to nurture young talent and creativity in this realm. From organising hackathons to providing open access to APIs, Selcom has kept up with the pace on formalising payments and digitizing solutions by allowing its current products to be exposed via direct API integrations for businesses aiming to go digital. “With Selcom’s technical knowledge and experience, initially, we worked directly with SMEs and corporates, thus connecting over 50,000 businesses to digitize payment collections with our merchant platform, Selcom Pay”, she states. However, with the shift in focus during the pandemic, Selcom noticed an increase in demand for payment integrations requested by other third party platforms or fintechs. Several of the fintechs and third party platforms began building layers of solutions as Value Added Services within sectors such as logistics management and even digitizing entertainment, to name a few. The objective for Selcom was always to be an enabler and help push the national agenda forward collectively with all stakeholders, even if they’re considered to be competition in the traditional sense of the word.
Furthermore, the hackathons served to provide the space and platform for different companies to leverage on Selcom APIs for their own products or applications and essentially push their own product forward for the benefit of the end user. This includes Selcom’s biller, e-commerce, disbursement APIs, and others that are used by the companies collectively. The use cases span from value chain digitisation for players in the real estate and pharmaceutical space, all the way to lending and beyond. The goal for Selcom is to be open and share its knowledge base in order to empower innovation in others regardless of their size or their experience as a business.
The work was not easily cut out, adds Rushika. Selcom had to also creatively restructure its own organisational structure in order to nourish talent that can easily help its clients to go digital.  “We deliberately focus on our own talent first. While they are within Selcom they are equipped and trained to experience different products and technical requirements from Day 1. The company’s mission is to tap into the productivity and creativity of the youth so that with the changes in the future of work, there is an element of collaboration between like-minded young entrepreneurs solving the current challenges within Tanzania”.
  At the end of the day, Selcom’s goal is to make sure that if the challenge is to go digital and digitize payments at the most important point of checkout, then there should be nothing holding a company back.