The practice of lending circles comes in many different forms and is known by various names. Japan has the tanomoshi, Latin America the tanda and then there’s sou-sou, the common way of pooling money together across West Africa. Abbey Wemimo has now made this international savings process digital through his “Esusu” app. It allows people to pay for things using a shared account. The methodology is simple and resembles regular rotational savings programs. A group of people each put in a certain amount of money every month and then take turns pulling out the total. It was through this savings method his mother was able to pay for his education. “She fundamentally believed that education was a paramount investment in my future and could only afford it through sou-sou programs,” Wemimo said. The app is also helping people establish credit through a unique method of tracking consistent rent payments, then reporting it to credit bureaus. “We’re creating a financial identity for the unbanked.” Esusu currently has 5,000 active users and has established financial literacy programs with NYU and the University of Minnesota.
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