I left my heart in Morocco

Week 2: We have continued to work “with heart,” as our client Aissa has stated, but my heart grows heavy knowing G-Lab will soon be over and our time in Morocco will be coming to an end. Much of our time outside of work has been dedicated to experiencing this beautiful country—eating kefta tajines for lunch, sipping mint tea over work, and bartering for special goods like hand-made rugs and metal work. At Paylogic we have made a friend, Tawfiq, who has taken time to show us his favorite hangouts and advise us on where to stay and what to do during our weekend travels. Last weekend took us to Chefchaouen, a sleepy blue town in the North of Morocco with chilly fresh air, less traffic and a familiar language—Spanish. As you can see from the pictures, the trip was well worth the 6 hour bus ride!

medina

View from our Riad, Dar Dadicilef

Akchour

We hiked 2 hours to Akchour, a beautiful waterfall draining into a cold river

all 4

Exploring the Medina in Chefchaouen

Week 2 of G-lab had us in the thick of things as we wrapped up the merchant marketing plan and dug into the financial model. It was during this week that we began to see the true value of our work—we created a merchant targeting worksheet that the client will be able to use when we are gone, and we began discussions around funding the enterprise, which will inform the financial model template that we leave behind. Aissa has also taken us on a couple meetings with potential merchants, which has helped us to continue to wrap our mind around the market opportunity for AMA. We spoke with a distributor of telecom services, opening our eyes to the opportunity for merchants’ margin expansion. We also spoke with a director at a travel agency, where services are pre-booked but the merchant often experiences delays in payment or fraudulent chargebacks.

I have been reflecting on this experience as I prepare for our final presentation on Thursday. AMA has the opportunity to change the payment landscape for both banked and unbanked populations in Africa—something the telecoms have not been able to get right. I’ve been turning over a phrase in my mind that I heard from a John Steinbeck novel this week,

“And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens – the main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.”

I think that AMA is on the cusp of something big, and my hope is that they are the ones to crack the code soon.

1 Comment

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