BitMari, the Pan-African Bitcoin wallet provider, is trying to popularize Bitcoin in the Zimbabwean region. Currently, the startup is working with the Zimbabwe Women Farmers Accelerator to raise cryptocurrency funds for the group’s cause.
Pan African Bitcoin Wallet BitMari Helps Fund Zimbabwean Women Farmers
The startup BitMari is on a mission to leverage Bitcoin and blockchain protocols in order to streamline remittances to Africa from its diaspora. The company was founded in June of 2015 by Christopher Mapondera and Sinclair Skinner.
BitMari is currently working through regulatory policy across the region to lay the groundwork for its application services. In the meantime, the startup has started a crowdfund of US$22,500 to support Zimbabwean women farmers.
BitMari’s crowdfunding goal is to raise Bitcoin for a hundred local women farmers in the Zimbabwean region. The mission is to issue BitMari wallets to ten farmers across ten provinces while removing third party intervention.
So far the crowdfunding effort has raised $17,000 of the $22,500 from eight backers. The Bitcoins will be redeemed for “farming inputs at selected suppliers nationwide.” After a successful season, the farmers will fund back the project and set up for the next wave of farmers.
Zimbabwe’s Turbulent Economy Looks to Better Alternatives
Zimbabwe’s economy has suffered widespread poverty and extreme unemployment for years. From 2003 to 2009 the Zimbabwean currency hyperinflated to a point where the country’s reserve notes became virtually worthless. In 2009 the state abandoned the Zimbabwe dollar — and began seeing economic progress immediately.
However, there is a lot of distrust towards the Zimbabwean banks and new bond note system. A writer named L.S.M Kabweza had suggested this past May that Bitcoin could remove the need for trust from the traditional system. Kabweza believes that tech can help Zimbabwe “in both a short and long term sense in its current predicament of a USD cash shortage and new bond notes that Zimbabweans are generally very skeptical about.”
Educating Local Residents and the Outlying African Communities About Bitcoin Solutions
While raising the $17,000 in funds so far, BitMari is also educating locals on the many beneficial aspects of cryptocurrencies. The process is in collaboration with Agribank, that works with preferred suppliers and farming inputs. Additionally, The Women Farmers Land and Agriculture Trust – a small-scale farmers’ trust is being utilized as well.
BitMari says it wants to raise Bitcoin awareness throughout the Pan African region, especially in communities that could benefit from its attributes. The startup explains that typically residents wouldn’t adopt a digital currency that hasn’t become a form of mainstream mobile payment services.
Helping fund the Zimbabwe Women Farmers Accelerator is a chance for farmers to receive funds from the diaspora, BitMari explains. The company believes if it becomes successful, Bitcoin could trump the Zimbabwean bond notes and become a solution to the cash crisis.
Images via Shutterstock, and the BitMari Website.