aicx
financial inclusion
consumer protection
africa

Africa’s Talking and Proto partner to enable conversational financial services across Africa’s SMS networks

3 min

Nairobi, Kenya

Africa’s Talking and Proto integrate to provide central banks and financial service providers with consumer support automation for African languages via SMS feature phones – critical for including unbanked populations.


When Africa’s Talking launched over ten years ago, software developers in Africa lacked local API tools for testing and deploying their apps. They relied on Western tools that were not compatible with Africa's unique and complex digital infrastructure. Today, Africa’s Talking provides a community of over 80,000 developers and 6,500 businesses with a unified API platform for SMS, USSD, Voice IVR, WhatsApp and many more communication solutions, powering the imagination of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Similarly, consumer support automation in Africa was overwhelmingly reliant upon non-African solutions, with languages limited to English, French and Portuguese – excluding huge swathes of consumers who constitute a majority of the backbone of developing economies in Africa. The key limitation to localized support automation is data, specifically machine-learning models for languages such as Twi, Nyanja, and Kinyarwanda. Today, Proto’s solution is powering AI-enabled consumer complaints processing at central banks and financial service providers in multiple countries, with support from the African Development Bank.

In line with the financial inclusion initiative and the need to expand access to digital financial services to bottom-of-the-pyramid consumers – Africa’s Talking SMS system has been fully-integrated into Proto’s AI Customer Experience (AICX) platform. This capability will be released across five national financial ecosystems for consumer complaints processing, in partnership with the financial regulators of Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Rwanda, Zambia. Proto will also be an early participant in a revolutionary consumer data platform that Africa’s Talking is currently beta-testing.

Proto CEO Curtis Matlock said: “Africa’s Talking and Proto are similar innovators, advancing inclusive engagement across Africa. As we see with Proto’s consumer protection projects, it is essential to have a rapidly deployable SMS solution – in order to make certain we’re including people that do not yet have access to smartphones or the internet.”
Africa's Talking's CEO Samuel Gikandi said: "Our core value for Africa's Talking has been empowering software developers and investing in them by lowering the barriers  to innovation and democratising access to infrastructure This enables them to build impactful and scalable transformative solutions tailored for the continent. We're very excited to work, partner and continue the journey with Proto. This partnership augments and improves the entire customer engagement process. Our partnership will further enable developers and enterprises alike to provide robust business communications promptly, autonomously, and seamlessly."

In the coming weeks, Africa’s Talking and Proto will make their integration widely available across their respective marketplaces and platforms.


About Africa’s Talking

Africa's Talking is a Pan-African business started in 2010 to help developers and enterprises alike bring their ideas to life with ease. We do this by integrating with the different telecommunication companies (telcos) and aggregators and exposing their services through a unified platform that anyone can consume. Currently, we have 5 product APIs (SMS, USSD, Voice, Airtime, and Internet of things (IoT)) with coverage in over 20 African countries. Our platform now serves over 80,000 developers and 6,500 businesses all across Africa and beyond. We are making huge strides towards aiding most, if not all, companies and developers in Africa to build exceptional solutions and sustainable Pan-African businesses.


About Proto

Proto is the leader for inclusive chatbots and multilingual contact centre automation in emerging markets. Proto’s AI Customer Experience (AICX) platform is powered by proprietary natural language processing (NLP) for under-resourced and rare languages. Proto's novel deep-learning techniques and regulatory partnerships maximize customer experience, protection, and lifetime value.

Neil Walker is the Marketing Manager at Proto. He has over 10 years experience in leading communications initiatives for digital transformation projects in emerging countries.