South Africa’s Wala, a blockchain-powered financial services platform for the unbanked and underbanked, has entered into a partnership that will loan 100,000,000 of its Dala tokens – the equivalent of US$10 million – to 50,000 smallholder farmers in Uganda to purchase fertiliser.
The startup has partnered Block Commodities Limited, a commodity trader operating across Africa, and FinComEco, a fully integrated financial and commodities ecosystem fostering financial inclusion throughout the agricultural value chain, to offer loans of Dala, a crypto-token designed to enable instant, zero-fee, borderless micropayments.
Block Commodities and FinComEco have started disbursing the loans to Ugandan farmers, and in time will do the same with local farmers in South Africa, Republic of Congo, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The goal is to empower smallholder farmers with fertiliser to maximise the value of their agricultural output by providing access to financing and tracking their commodities through blockchain technology platforms. The partnership provides a solution to the lack of affordable and accessible financial services faced by many in the industry.
“This is a huge opportunity and potential reset for finance in Africa, and we are very excited to be a part of this,” said Chris Cleverly, chief executive officer (CEO) of Block Commodities. “It’s a giant step in the right direction to tackle and solve the financial inclusion problem that impacts half the world’s population.”
The partnership, which is enabling agricultural finance on the blockchain, will be enhanced by existing Wala partnerships with Mvendr, a mobile point-of-sale service for small merchants, and Spazapp, an ecommerce management platform for small merchants to manage and purchase new inventory from wholesalers and brands.
The Mvendr and Spazapp networks provide Wala users with the capability to transact and cash in or cash out with Dala at over 100,000 merchants throughout Africa. These partnerships further expand Dala payment capabilities for consumers, merchants and suppliers, and form important parts of the fast-growing Dala ecosystem.
“The partnerships we’re announcing today showcase the innovative possibilities being created with blockchain technology to help empower the 3.5 billion ‘unbanked’ and underserved consumers worldwide,” said Tricia Martinez, director of the Dala Foundation and founder and CEO of Wala.
“In agriculture, retail, enterprise and other industries, partnerships like these are helping us move consumers throughout Africa closer to financial prosperity, eliminating the traditional gap between consumers and financial service providers.”