LOCAL remittance startup company Bitmari which had a soft launch recently hopes to expand beyond Zimbabwe to other African countries.
Bitmari is a Pan-African remittance service that shall leverage on bitcoin technology to tap into new markets of the diaspora remittance. The company’s co-founder Christopher Mapondera told TechnoMag that they will take a leaf from Econet’s expansion.
“We are going to expand in other countries like the example of Econet which started in Zimbabwe and is now in other parts of the world. We see Bitmari taking that trajectory as we intend to go to other countries working with local people, working their financial systems and facilitate their systems to be able to remit funds to their countries,”he said adding that, “We will also look at how they can utilize this technology in terms of their economy as well. For example if you go to Mozambique, one of the things the grassroots people do is fishing.
“ So if we have a system where a fisher is able to get his or her fish toi the market, whatever assistance they need, we can be able to provide within the space of bitmari. At least we can replicate it in other parts of the world.”
The Bitmari boss also said they are looking at entering other African English speaking countries.
The remittance service is currently available for Zimbabweans in USA and UK.
“The only reason we have started with USA and UK is because they have a substantial Zimbabwean population. Each country where there are Zimbabweans, it has got its own unique characteristics that one has to deal with.
“ We have Zimbabweans in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and so forth, so we can’t handle more than one country at the startup level but as we expand we get more people and as we train more and more young Zimbabweans to get into this financial technology sphere, those will become our ambassadors we can send to those parts of the world. These will train local people there and do the things,” he said.
Mapondera also said they inked a partnership with Agribank where the bank is not an agent to Bitmari.
“. In our case we work with a local financial institution, Agribank. Agribank is not an agent for us as opposed to how some of the banks are agents to Western Union, Mukuru , Agribank is our partner which means we share profits with them.
“We provide a lot of technical assistance and so forth and vice versa. But the biggest advantage with them is that they are involved in the star economy of Zimbabwe which is agriculture which affects almost 99 percent of our people,” he said.
Bitmari developer Tongayi Choto said they have a float with Agribank which assists local in getting money sent to them by their relatives and friends in the diaspora.
Choto said for Zimbabweans in UK and USA to start sending money to their relatives they should have Bitmari wallets.