Cassava Fintech International, the Econet Global owned company is launching a chat app targeted at the African continent next week. We first talked about the app, Sasai several weeks ago when Cassava let it slip on their website.
Sasai will of course seek to challenge or perhaps dislodge WhatsApp, the Facebook owned chat app that currently rules Africa. Although WhatsApp is the Goliath Sasai will have to slay, Sasai itself is more similar to WeChat, the Chinese behemoth of an app.
Like WeChat, Sasai combines social interaction (chatting) with payments. This is no surprise given that Cassava’s most successful business to date is a fintech: EcoCash.
On Sasai users can link their preferred payment method to the app and start making purchases in app. In Zimbabwe for example, users can link their EcoCash wallet to Sasai and start using Sasai for their regular EcoCash transactions like paying bills, merchants etc.
The role out of Sasai is based on partnerships with mobile network operators. Ordinarily, the first partner is the Econet Wireless Group which has presence in Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Burundi. Zimbabwe being their most important market.
The unification of social chatting and payments/fintech is a growing trend globally. Tencent’s WeChat is probably the most successful case study that has inspired many others to attempt this. WhatsApp itself will be launching WhatsApp Pay and of course their parent company, Facebook has joined forces with several global players to work on a cryptocurrency: Libra. All these developments will be interesting to see unfold on the African continent which is one of the foremost targeted regions when it comes to mobile payments solutions.