As part of our mission of documenting USSD-based innovations across Africa, we are always thrilled to learn about new services offering USSD either as a channel or as part of their core service.
Because USSD is frequently associated with financial access, we are even more thrilled to learn about the non-financial applications of USSD.
In today's article, we will be looking at 10 non-fintech applications that are already leveraging USSD to bring access to important services across Africa.
Founded in 2012, MLouma is one of the oldest products on this list. The app, which connects agricultural stakeholders has evolved over the years to offer its service via mobile app, web, SMS, and USSD. Through MLouma’s USSD platform, farmers can connect to buyers of their produce in real-time, as well as get advice on the weather and other important items.
Gifted Mom (Cameroon)
New and expectant mothers often have to deal with numerous hospital visits and medication to protect themselves and their children. Gifted Mom helps them keep up with all these appointments by sending timely reminders. It also sends them periodic educational content on motherhood and pregnancy that is verified. Content on Gifted Mom is accessible via USSD to women across West Africa.
Insurance is often treated as an afterthought in most African countries. Casava is trying to change this by allowing Nigerians to register for insurance for as low as N500 ($1.20) and make small weekly or monthly payments via their debit cards or USSD.
Education is still a dire need across Africa, especially in lower-income households where people are unlikely to pursue higher education. Chalkboard Education provides everyday Africans with access to distance learning university courses. The startup is able to do this via a mobile learning solution that students can access with or without an internet connection. Students can partake in classes through USSD and SMS.
Kasha is Rwanda’s top healthcare e-commerce platform. The startup connects Rwandans to healthcare products through its multi-channel product which is accessible via web, app, SMS, and USSD. Through its USSD channels, Rwandans can find out what items are in-store and make purchases.
Biscate is a service marketplace created by Mozambiquan tech company, UX. The marketplace allows Mozambicans to find informal workers to meet their needs. Since most informal workers do not have access to the internet, Biscate’s USSD platform allows them to keep up with requests.
Since 2017, Skyfox, a social enterprise, has been helping Ghana Water Company Limited improve its revenue collection and customer management processes via USSD. Its USSD solution allows users to create bills, make payments, and report issues by themselves.
Small scale farmers, due to a lack of resources, often have to deal with many avoidable issues. Verdant provides these farmers with support by giving them access to location-based weather reports, planting and cultivation advice, pricing advice, and supply chain information. Farmers can access Verdant’s content via USSD and SMS.
Little Biz (Kenya)
Originally founded by Safaricom, Little is a pan-african super-app, present in at least four countries - Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Somalia. The app offers delivery, transportation, healthcare, event payments, and more, all accessible via USSD.
Eneza Education (Kenya)
Founded in Kenya, Eneza Education is an m-education app that has used USSD to deliver content to over 10 million students across 3 African countries: Kenya, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire.
Writer's Note: This is an evolving list, so if we missed out on any interesting applications, feel free to reach me here with information on the app and what it does.