How DeFi is helping Africa connect on a global scale
Crypto Advisor spoke with James Saruchera, the CEO and Co-Founder of Kuva Local. Kuva is a global fintech that is focused on empowering individuals and small businesses to preserve and grow their wealth.
Kuva is an eCommerce app that brings global customers to local businesses, providing a convenient, easy way to sell in hard currency. With as little as a spreadsheet and some images, businesses can take advantage of an extensive system that allows multiple payment methods, manages order delivery logistics and customer credit without needing to invest anything in technology.
What was the main driving force behind the launch of Kuva Local?
“eCommerce platforms like Amazon ship products from across the world, in some cases putting local shops out of business. We wanted to create a platform that does the opposite of this. Choosing to celebrate and champion quality that is locally made instead, while enabling local businesses to provide the same benefits and convenience of online shopping, allowing them to sell to a global audience, keeping the money in the community.”
Why have you chosen this particular market to launch in?
“Markets like Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya all have a large diaspora that is spread out across the world who still have strong family ties in their home country. They often pay exorbitant fees to send money home, which then gets used for buying goods. With Kuva Local they can just select the goods they want from local merchants and have them delivered to individuals back home in as little as an hour.”
How does Kuva Local stand out from others?
“Because Kuva Local sits on top of our blockchain infrastructure (Kuva Network), it is possible to reward customers in Kuva, our native token, giving them an economic stake in the success of the platform. Imagine owning a little more of Amazon each time you used it.”
Who, if any, are your competitors in this particular market?
“Our main competitors are Jumia (Nigeria), Takealot (South Africa), and Amazon.”
How Kuva Local works from an accessibility perspective?
“The recipients of the goods do not need to have the Kuva Local app at all. Senders who are frequently in developed markets almost all have smartphones. With that said, it's important that technology companies do not entrench backwardness in the name of accessibility by building for dumb phones, discouraging progress to smartphones.”
Has there been any measurable impact on local communities since the launch of Kuva Local and if yes, could you share some figures?
“An example I love is that the Kuva Local platform allows people to pay for the reforestation of local indigenous trees. An entire forest worth (1,000+ trees) has already been planted.”
You say, for example, birthday cake delivered to a friend in Nairobi, without a massive carbon footprint, what is Kuva Local doing to keep its environmental impact low?
“Kuva Local pioneered emissions-free delivery through the use of electric bicycles. We’re aiming to have at least 50% of our deliveries done through emissions-free methods.”
What could competitors do or learn from you to minimize their own environmental impact?
“I’d love to see more eCommerce platforms utilize emissions-free delivery methods.”
What will the short-term and long-term future hold for Kuva Local? And for crypto in general, from your perspective?
“I believe there is a hunger to consume healthier, better quality locally produced products across the world. I see Kuva Local expanding to the United States and other developed countries.”