According to a 2017 study by The World Bank, only 69% of adults have bank accounts. This low percentage is due to inhibitive factors like poverty or lack of resources. Institutions like Barclay Group and FirstRand use exclusive banking practices that stop many would-be entrepreneurs in their tracks. DafriGroup’s new project, DafriBank, is looking to change all that. We spoke with Xolane Ndhlovu, founder and the chairman of DafriGroup PLC, about what we can expect from the future.
Xolane Ndhlovu, Chairman DafriGroup PLC
Mr. Ndhlovu, what inspired you to start DafriGroup?
I learned a long time ago that If you invest in the future of your community, you will see tremendous returns. I began my entrepreneurial journey at the age of 15, and over the years I've learned invaluable lessons on entrepreneurship. My first break came few years ago when I founded UMEH, which invest in small tech startup companies with potential to grow. I made my first million dollars that way. And that’s exactly what we’re doing with DafriGroup. DafriGroup is an investment company that prides itself on investing in the future. We look for unique investment opportunities that has the ability to move Africa’s economy forward.
What can DafriBank offer Africans?
The future of our world is digital. I don’t think anyone would deny that. And that means that the future of banking will soon become digital-only. DafriBank is creating a modern payment network that will aggregate the best ideas, innovations, and technologies developed in recent years. The DafriBank ecosystem will allow safe, fast, and low-cost transactions, using a global currency.
Many of the ideas that DafriBank will include already exist in some form, but thus far they have gained only limited acceptance, and there is no universal system that integrates them all. This is due to a classic chicken and egg barrier: For so long, many people have been excluded from traditional banking because of a lack of resources. This can make personal financing difficult, but it can also crush the dreams of young entrepreneurs and startup businesses. We need to encourage that kind of growth instead of squashing it. DafriBank will remove the entry barriers to financing and offer a wide range of banking services from deposits to transfers to financial planning.
What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?
When I was younger, I became inspired to go into business after reading Richard Branson’s book, “Losing My Virginity.” It’s the story of how Branson went from zero business knowledge to becoming one of the most successful businessmen of our time. I recommend it for young entrepreneurs who want to get their start. It was a stepping stone which shielded light on how then 16 year old Branson went from editing Student Magazine in his mother's basement, getting caught up with the law, to founding Virgin that now own over 400 companies. But my other advice is always to incorporate philanthropy into your business model. It is one of my primary interests, and you should always be in the practice of sharing what you have with those around you. Xolane Ndhlovu says that DafriBank plans to launch to the public in 2021. Their headquarters is in South Africa, with planned offices in Nigeria and Botswana. But according to Ndhlovu, the best part about DafriBank is that they will be digitally accessible from across the world.
DafriGroup is a public limited company founded by Xolane Ndhlovu who currently lead the company as the chairman. The flagship of the company is DafriGroup PLC registered in South Africa, Nigeria and Botswana with its headquarters in South Africa. The company has a diverse range of interest in multiple industries as evidenced by its fast growing list of subsidiaries including UMEH, DafriTechnologies, DafriBank, DafriExchange, DafriAir, OMAHA Hotels, DafriEstate, Royal IVY, and UMEH Motors among others serving millions of customers in Africa and on a global scale.