Kenyan start-up Twiga Foods Ltd helping small scale traders attain creditworthiness

By The Weekly Vision and Samuel Gebre

Janeffer Wacheke’s fresh-vegetable stall in Nairobi uses technology that’s helping crack problems Kenyan banks have so far failed to solve, measuring the creditworthiness of traders in the country’s multi-billion shillings informal economy. Twiga Foods Limited is a business-to-business e-commerce company that deals with both fresh food and groceries.

Twiga East Africa CEO Yebeltal Getachew

The 40-year-old mother of two is among hundreds of small-scale retailers who can use her mobile phone to access loans to buy tomatoes, onions or bananas directly from producers and have them delivered by Kenyan start-up Twiga Foods Ltd. That saves Wacheke a trip to the market, where she would have to haggle over prices and then transport the goods herself. It’s cutting her costs and helping her build a credit track record.

“My prayers have been answered,” Wacheke said as she packed tomatoes into a crate at her stall. “In business, you need to be fast. The more you pay back, the more you get bigger loans, and the more you can sell. It has really helped me.”

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