How DeFi is helping Africa connect on a global scale

Crypto Advisor spoke with James Saruchera, CEO and co-founder of Kuva Local. Kuva is a global fintech focused on empowering individuals and small businesses to preserve and grow their wealth. Kuva is an eCommerce application that brings global customers to local businesses, providing a convenient and easy way to sell hard currency. With just a spreadsheet and a few images, companies can take advantage of an extensive system that allows multiple forms of payment, manages order delivery logistics and customer credit without having to invest anything in technology.

What was the main driving force behind the launch of Kuva Local?

“E-commerce platforms like Amazon ship products from all over the world, in some cases putting local stores out of business. We wanted to create a platform that did the opposite of that. Choosing to celebrate and champion the quality that is made locally, while allowing local businesses to provide the same benefits and convenience as online shopping, allowing them to sell to a global audience while keeping money in the community.”

Why did you choose this particular market to launch into?

“Markets such as Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Kenya have a large diaspora spread across the world that still maintain strong family ties in their home country. They often pay exorbitant fees to send money home, which is then used to buy goods. With Kuva Local, they can simply select the products they want from local merchants and have them delivered to individuals at home in less than an hour.”

How does Kuva Local stand out from others?

“As 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 use it.”

Who, if any, are your competitors in that particular market?

“Our main competitors are Jumia (Nigeria), Takealot (South Africa) and Amazon.”

How does Kuva Local work from an accessibility point of view?

“The recipients of the goods do not need to have the Kuva Local app. Senders who are often in developed markets almost all have smartphones. With that said, it’s important that tech companies don’t ingrain backwardness in the name of affordability 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 so, could you share some numbers?

“One example I love is that the Kuva Local platform allows people to pay for the reforestation of local indigenous trees. An entire forest (over 1,000 trees) has already been planted.”

You say, for example, birthday cake delivered to a friend in Nairobi, without a big carbon footprint, what is Kuva Local doing to keep its environmental impact low?

“Kuva Local pioneered emission-free delivery through the use of e-bikes. Our goal is for at least 50% of our deliveries to be made by emission-free methods.”

What can competitors do or learn from you to minimize their own environmental impact?

“I would love to see more e-commerce platforms using emission-free delivery methods.”

What does the short-term and long-term future hold for Kuva Local? And for cryptocurrencies in general, from your perspective?

“I believe there is a hunger to consume healthier and better quality locally produced products all over the world. I see Kuva Local expanding to the US and other developed countries.”