This time last year the Omicron variant had just been identified in South Africa and the country was just entering its 4th wave by 1 December 2021. The mood in the country sunk to a new low after the horrific riots in KZN and everyone was tired of the relentless waves of Covid lockdowns.

Sadly there are still stiff challenges and headwinds that we’re facing as a country. The economy remains stagnant and the news is filled with state and private corruption scandals, with neither party facing any real justice.

It’s a tough time to be South African. Yet, I remind myself that we’ve been through much worse. We overcame three centuries of colonialism and another 40 years of apartheid and we’re still standing. South Africa has the second largest GDP in Africa just behind Nigeria and is the fourth top-ranked African country by Freedom House (behind Mauritius, Seychelles, and Ghana) with a rating of 79 - not bad considering the USA has a rating of 83.

Although there is much to be worried about, there is also much to celebrate.

We should all remember the words of Chief Albert Luthuli when he said “I personally believe that here in South Africa, with all our diversities of colour and race, we will show the world a new pattern for democracy.”

So in the spirit of pride, I want to look back and celebrate all that we’ve achieved as a business over the past year and then look forward with hope.

This year has been a hard slog for the Franc team. We started off the year by having to say goodbye to some team members who were with us from the very beginning. Yet out of the ashes, we rebuilt the team and have since then made storming progress. We were excited to launch Boosts, child accounts and linked accounts this year. All of which have the potential to radically change how people think about investing and expand Franc’s reach to more and more people.

These exciting features were recognised by both MTN and Heavychef in their selection of Franc as the Best Financial App and in the Top 5 Most Exciting Startups, respectively. These achievements came with stiff competition from incredible companies. It really is a testament to the Franc team. I’m so proud of all the hard work and dedication exhibited by everyone.

Over the past year, we’ve doubled the number of investors on the platform. And what I’m most proud of is that our investors are investing more over time, so the total amount invested through Franc has more than doubled. We keep track of the ratio of deposits to withdrawals and this ratio has improved by 33% over the past year. So even in the face of inflation and rising interest rates, Franc investors have shown that they want to build a solid investment habit by putting in more than they are taking out.

Looking ahead, without giving too much away, I’m excited about the new features and offerings that Franc will be providing access to in the new year! We’re also excited to be bringing on board new partners who will extend access to even more people who want to invest for the first time. Not only that, but we’re also going to be welcoming a number of new people to the Franc team who will be starting in the new year!

All in all, we’re finishing the year on a high and looking onwards and upwards to the year ahead.