Weʼre raising £40,000 to Financial education and business skills among Tanzanian/African rural farmers/entrepreneurs to instil appropriate usage of borrowed funds
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I am a Tanzanian student at the University of Reading School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in the United Kingdom. My research focuses on factors limiting the upscaling in the fisheries sector globally, with a Tanzanian case study. The Tanzanian fisheries suffer from rampant illegal fishing, declining fish catches and are dominated 95% by low tech small-scale artisanal fishers. My preliminary research findings indicate limited access to finance worsens artisanal fishers' upscaling prospects, rendering them unable to acquire modern fishing gear/boats and post-harvest management technologies (e.g. deep freezers for raw fish storage) which are critical for value retention and/or addition.
I turned to banks (CRDB and NMB) and sought their responses on lending to rural small-scale operators, particularly artisanal fishers. These banks responded that rural small-scale operators including artisanal fishers are risky customers, usually lack business management skills and financial resources extended to them end up mismanaged, misused or even stolen by dishonest and corrupt leaders/members. Records show 51 Tanzanian commercial banks lost US$861 million in 2017 in the form of loan related bad debts. The Government of Tanzania also lost about US$6.1 million over 2013-2017 period due to irrecoverable soft loans extended to rural women and youth entrepreneurial groups. These are examples of resources and development opportunities lost in Tanzania and Africa due to lack of business management skills as well as corruption at a rural grassroots level.
I have devised a technology solution to the above problem. It is meant to ensure credit providers (banks and donors/government) should not end up with planning but should also be part of the appropriate usage of financial resources at the implementation stage. I have discussed the design of the prototype tool with the Blockchain technology developers and consultant at the University of Reading Computing department. They say development of the software application requires £20,000, servers and computers require £10,000 and field testing, refining and commissioning in Tanzania needs £10,000; hence a total initial cost of £40,000.
This technological solution is going to help on appropriate usage of financial resources extended to groups of women, youth and other categories of entrepreneurs in fisheries and agriculture, thus enhancing success rates of their business, repayment of loans and interests as well as registering intended development outcomes and impact in the rural setting - including sustainable fisheries free of illegal practices. The technology solution will not be confined to Tanzania alone, its benefits are poised to spill over into Africa and elsewhere in the developing world where sustainable rural development of women, youth and other groups such as artisanal fishers is constrained by misuse and corruption of financial resources.
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Charles DOMICIAN started crowdfunding