Africa’s COVID-19 aftermath is, to say the least, a complicated puzzle to solve. With marginalized communities spanning the entire continent, the worldwide emergency has intensified the presence of malnutrition, hunger, and poverty problems. The number of deaths due to starvation or hunger-related illnesses is estimated by U.N.’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock to double because of Covid19.
Furthermore, there is a widespread feeling in Africa that, were these problems ever to be solved, the solutions will most likely arise from the grit and hustle of Africans themselves. Government level corruption, lack of sanitary and financial infrastructure, and significant bureaucratic obstacles stand between the well-intentioned aid of the developed world and the very people the West aims to help. The President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, has gone further and has stated that the developmental aid model has failed: “We can no longer pursue a policy for our countries and regions that is based on the support given by the West, France or the European Union. This has not worked and it will not work,”.
In such a complex landscape, it’s encouraging to see emerging technologies leveraged by African entrepreneurs to pull themselves and their communities forward. Dr.Chris Cleverly co-founder of the KamPay Wallet and KamPay token, a new payments cryptocurrency marketed through lottery incentivisation, is leveraging the huge smartphone penetration in Africa and the fact that three of the biggest customer countries of Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange, are on the continent to utilise a unique DeFi solution which will provide microfinance to millions of farmers. The intention is that this will pull the farmers out of the subsistence cycle to provide them with enough finance to grow crops that they can also sell and feed others with.
In order to do this KamPay, with an initial 50,000 farmers in ZImbabwe is testing a groundbreaking use case for blockchain technology in alliance with the Africa Grain and Seed Association.
The AGS focuses its resources on developing and strengthening communities with the potential to become self-sustaining. By identifying those with the potential to host farms that can assist their local needs and surplus into regional and international markets, they are set to implement solutions by donating seeds, seedlings, books, and hosting intensive workshops and training camps for sustainable farming. Furthermore, these programs are engineered towards schools, helping local kids and teachers perform better by ensuring their nutritional needs.
Through their collaboration, both entities hope to increase the yield productivity of smallholder farmers across the continent, which researchers consider the cornerstone of future economic growth and sustainable development.
So, how does the blockchain empower the alliance of a continental payments giant and an organization set to rewrite the future of millions of lives in the next ten years?
As representatives from both organizations note, smallholder and micro-farming communities in Africa are notoriously underserved by banks and traditional financial institutions. Philanthropist Zandile Matiwaza-Denga says about this: “We saw the desperate need on the ground as we went during COVID to donate over 10,000 seedlings to the Sacred Heart Secondary School, as well as the Umzingwane community 600 seedlings and 75 fruit trees to Gwagwava Secondary school and the Rushinga community, both in Zimbabwe. We saw the same challenges in South Africa through our donations to the National Traditional House of Leaders under the Invest Rural programme. The biggest challenge but also the biggest opportunity in investing rural has been strengthening and building resilient vibrant rural economies.
We need to address the financial aspect which has been an oversight that limits the access to credit and financing opportunities to invest in climate-smart agriculture and scalable operations KamPay, as global experts engaged us with solutions that provide AGS liquidity in secure, risk-averse solutions like crypto payments, KamPay effectively allows the organization to access Africa’s mostly unbanked, mostly rural population directly.” (Sic.)
In fact, the partnership intends to distribute a personal stimulus payment to AGS’ beneficiaries through a KamPay wallet. All of this, of course, without incurring expenses for bank transactions, legal fees, financial red tape, or risking that funds get lost along the way.
Using cryptocurrency payments, KamPay can also leverage smart contracts to help AGS overcome many of the dilemmas faced by organizations giving and receiving grants: Funds allocation. By issuing a token that is locked on receivers’ KamPay eWallets, KamPay ensures that receivers of the AGS stimuli can spend their assignments strategically and to the best of their knowledge, but only on a pre-approved catalogue of AGS’ selection. This ensures both that the funds will be spent on the intended items and that only the intended receivers will ever be able to transact with the tokens.
Initiatives such as the one initiated by KamPay and AGS demonstrate how philanthropic endeavors can utilize the new financial ecosystem to improve the lives of those in need. And so, they extend an invitation to those inspired by their mission to join its execution.
In the words of the visionary president of Africa Grain and Seed, Anthony Denga: “ We will look at likeminded business, philanthropists, and individuals who we have synergies with in the legacy building. There is no partner or impact that is too small or too big. There are avenues and inputs that can be brought to this table. We look for like-minded partners with the heart to see Africa transformed by investing in the youth to transform their minds and narrative from a dependency standpoint to leaders tomorrow. We look for synergies with partners that see the critical role women will play in this transformation and build trading platforms. We look for innovative ideas focused on resolving Africa’s challenges.”