African culture and identity is mainly preserved and lived by people in rural areas and these are the artisans and craftsmen of almost all the cultural products in markets. Unfortunately, these people are living in extreme poverty while cultural products are highly demanded.
One of the problems leading to the situation is poor and unreliable transportation and connectivity for them to access and sell their products to the global market.
Again, limited or absence of platforms for providing information about demand for what they produce leaves them blind to know what's going on in the global market. This discourages artisans to continue cherishing, manufacturing and producing African cultural products.
And absence of platforms that educates and protects the intellectual property of cultural products produced by rural artisans.
Currently, Middle men act as customers through buying cultural goods at relatively low prices and resells them at a higher price and mostly without crediting the real owner of the work. Sometimes products are sent to exhibitions for the purpose of finding customers, which is not effective to get sustainable income as events are rare and the method is not inclusive as not all craftsmen can access exhibitions.
We bring Afrikan, an inclusive platform that leverage mobile-money agent networks to empower African artisans to sell their crafts in the global market and reap benefit from their work without relying on middle men. According to GSMA, agent distribution networks became a disruptive element in the world of financial services, where agents provide last mile financial services to unbanked rural communities and a viable digital alternative to the brick-and-mortar bank branches found mainly in urban areas which is very true in African context. Mobile money industry processes $1.3bn daily worldwide.
Apart from providing mobile money services, agents also sell other products most of them coming from urban areas. This makes easy for Afrikan to use them as agents for transporting the cultural products from rural areas to urban areas where they can now be transported to destinations depending on the customers’ shipping addresses.
Afrikan leverages mobile money agents to post products from artisans to the Afrikan digital marketplace, to move the goods from rural area to semi-urban area to be shipped to customers all over the world. Agents also are used as a medium to help artisans withdraw their earnings from their products sold via Afrikan marketplace.