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Diaspora Entrepreneurs Use Internet to Send Remittances to Zimbabwe


In Zimbabwe, rising inflation means many citizens cannot afford basic necessities. The recent attempt by the government to enforce strict price regulations has done little to improve the economy. But Zimbabweans in the Diaspora have found a way to help – with a new website called Mukuru.com. It allows them to send relatives in Zimbabwe food packs and vouchers for gas and airtime for mobile phones.

Rob is a young Zimbabwean entrepreneur living in England. He explains his website by saying, “The concept is very simple; you pay Mukuru.com for products and services that we ensure get delivered to the Zimbabwean recipient through our network of local agents.”

Mukuru.com uses a voucher system, which allows customers to purchase units that are redeemable for the product or service they chose. Mukuru.com processes payments for an order and uses text messaging (SMS) to send a code to the recipient in Zimbabwe. It follows up with a confirmation and details of the order sent by e-mail. A voucher goes to both the buyer and recipient.

Rob says the venture is owned entirely by Zimbabweans. He worked for different IT companies before he formed his own. He says he recognized the “potential and endless possibilities that technology brings.” So far his business model has been successful -- with hundreds of orders placed by Zimbabweans in the Diaspora. Other online businesses have joined Mukuru.com, including zimbuyer.com, zimland.com and others.The service Rob says, will expand to allow Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to provide their families at home other items and services, including food.

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