STARTING FROM SCRATCH ZIMBABWE
After 5 life-altering economic crises, Zimbabwean citizens have hustled and strived to achieve a normal life, but the current system is filled with friction and impossible hurdles. Few viable solutions have been conceived, and the solutions that have come to the forefront drastically impact the amount of money Zimbabweans are able to retain. With limited access to FIAT currency, the import of goods comes at an extreme price, and that price is passed on to consumers.
There has been a rise in interest in cryptocurrencies because of their international value, but exchange rates within the country are much higher than the international market. Kuvacash, a group of global entrepreneurs funded by the DASH treasury, and led by James Saruchera, is an organization trying to solve these problems by using blockchain technology.
Back in October of 2017 we were fascinated by the idea of crypto currency adoption in developing nations, and how unstable markets encourage innovation. In the United States and other developed nations, the majority of adoption is through speculative investment, rather than day-to-day use-case scenarios.
We were approached by a few members of the DASH community to take a look at the DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization), a global group of Masternode holders that vote on proposals that will be paid for by the DASH blockchain. With DASH, 45% of block rewards go to miners, 45% go to Masternodes, and 10% goes into a monthly budget to pay for approved proposals that are perceived to increase the adoption and value of DASH. They have funded conferences, sports sponsorships, news programs, as well as broader integration programs like Kuvacash, a global team of entrepreneurs trying to decrease financial friction in African markets.
They are starting with Zimbabwe, the home country of their CEO, James Saruchera.
We first spoke with Kuvacash in November 2017, a tumultuous time for Zimbabwe. The Zanu PF party had just ousted their former president, Robert Mugabe, and replaced him with Emmerson Mnangagwa, who quickly shifted the country’s outward narrative from international seclusion, to “being open for business.” It seemed like an open invitation, so we submitted a proposal to the DAO, and were funded to document the current financial system in Zimbabwe, and what organizations like Kuvacash are doing to fix it.
Most people know about Zimbabwe’s hyperinflationary crisis in 2008, but the financial systems that rose from the ashes have been underexplored in the international community. There are no savings in Zimbabwe. There are no systems in which people can transact without fees or friction. EcoNet, a telecom company, has become the primary institution in which people store their money, and to purchase anything internationally citizens must buy USD or other fiat at a steep fee on the black market, which increases the cost of goods to be vastly higher than those in other countries, especially when compared to the average monthly salary.
Zimbabwe is a highly educated nation, with rich land and mineral resources. We hope that this documentary truthfully tells the stories of the individuals that we spent time with, and that it will encourage positive change.