Home Business The Development Process of the NOKANDA App

“Nokanda” is a mobile money aggregator which allows smartphone users to perform mobile money transactions in just a few clicks.

In the recent years, mobile money payments transactions have strongly increased in the Rwandan market however the payment processes remain cumbersome and long. Indeed, for each transaction be it person-to-person payments, utilities or merchant’s payments users had to memorize a series of short codes. Memorizing USSD short codes for each and every transaction is time-consuming and inefficient and using a USSD menu when having a smartphone feels like using outdated technology.

Hexakomb software engineers wanted to solve this problem for themselves first, they thought that there could be a better way to do it. They first developed a prototype and used it internally in the company for about 3 months from June 2019 to August 2019.

Soon after, friends and clients started noticing this new tool and requested to use it as well. In September 2019, Hexakomb enrolled its first early beta users who were willing to use the app and provide constructive feedback. This first pool of users validated its functionality, usability, reliability and user friendliness. In addition to mobile money payments, users requested the addition of useful shortcuts such as emergency and police numbers, health and hospital emergency numbers.

The name of the App “Nokanda” is a mix of English “No” and Kinyarwanda “Kanda” which means to press or to click, meaning that users no longer need to click so many times to perform a transaction.

The app is available in English, French and Kinyarwanda which are the official languages in Rwanda.

“Nokanda” can work completely without internet after the initial download. In a market where data bundle are still costly for the everyday users, this is a unique characteristic which makes “Nokanda” appealing to users.

The App was developed with Flutter, a google open source framework, that uses DART; a client-optimized language for fast apps on any platform (Android, IOS, Linux, Google Fuschia, macOS, Microsoft Window, Web Platforms). The choice of Flutter was primarily based on the fact that it is a cross-platform using one code base for both Android and IOS systems and allowing fast development, expressive and flexible User Interface design and native performance.

Prior to Nokanda, Hexakomb had already done two projects using Flutter ; “The Transform Africa Summit App” (A continental tech Summit organized every two years by smartafrica.org (www.smartafrica.org) , an organization set up by African Heads of State to fast-track the tech development of the African continent) and the “Buy from Women Platform” for UN Women Rwanda (an e-commerce agricultural platform to connect women farmers in rural areas with markets and potential buyers).

You can read the full article in the Outsourcing Destination Guide Rwanda, which is available for free download at www.outsourcing-destinations.org

About the author: Mr. Ernest Kayinamura is the founder and CEO of Hexakomb LTD. An ICT specialist with more than 18 years of experience in the field in USA, Europe and Africa. He graduated from MIT Sloan School of Management with an Executive Certificate in technology operations, an MBA from the Babson College School of Business and a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems from the University of Connecticut.

Ernest was the Director of ICT for 10 years at Enel North America, one of the world’s leading integrated electricity and gas
operators with over 65,000 employees and operations in 35 countries. Upon his return in Rwanda in 2013, he founded Hexakomb LTD, and has since then established the company has one of the leading software development firm in
the country. Hexakomb’s list of clients include government institutions, international organizations, and major corporations.

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