DEMARS Empowers African Communities With Tools To Launch Money Apps

Africa is the second-largest continent in the world with 54 countries as well as over 5,000 diverse tribescultures, languages and dialects. Also, the so-called dark continent populated by more than 1.2 billion people, represents 16 per cent of the world’s population.

The captivating tribal traditions and the vibrant cultures mirror the best-decentralized communities in the world. However, these collectives are disconnected from each other, hindering Africans from leveraging the economic benefits that abound in them.

There is no other continent on Mother Earth with so much natural diversity stretching from the north to the Southern hemisphere. It has what many don’t have and will die to possess.

The people are very resourceful eking out a living under exceptional circumstances fraught with uncountable hurdles. Their resilience is strikingly astonishing to anyone who cares to observe their way of life.

Barriers To Cross Border Exchanges 

Engaging in cross-border trade and transactions is quite arduous and expensive for many Africans. In a nutshell, moving goods and services across borders and paying for the same face towering blocks.

Imagine an average transfer charge of 26 per cent which is a day’s minimum wage for a migrant worker who is sending money from Johannesburg to his family in the Democratic Republic of Congo? Then the young Entrepreneur in Nairobi, Kenya who has to pay over 17 per cent to settle her Supplier in Dubai. Africans are rip-off by corporations and centralized businesses who charge throat-cutting fees to move funds.

Isn’t it shameful that African migrants who leave their families behind in pursuit of better opportunities have to spend so much transferring money home? Statistics indicate that exorbitant fees imposed on those sending money to Africa cost the continent about US$1.8 billion annually.

According to the Remittance Prices Worldwide (RPW), averagely the global cost for sending a remittance is around 6.79 per cent. South Asia is the most low-priced region to send money with a median payment of 4.95 percentage points.

Unsurprisingly, Sub-Sahara Africa remains the most expensive region to send funds to, recording a medium expense of 8.90 per cent in the 1st quarter of 2020. Africans deserve to keep their hard-earned income and spend it with their families and communities.

This money they are sending goes to pay school fees, medical bills, help open new businesses and put food on the table. Horrible user experience is an enormous challenge for residents on the continent as the industry is laden with impediments compounded with lengthy processes leaving a sour taste in the mouth of many.

Why are we paying so much when the technology is available to make this so much faster and cheaper? Come on African entrepreneurs we can do better! Local savings clubs, among others, get your act together!

DEMARS Empowers Communities With Tools

How do we support our people to scale these barriers, save money, invest in their communities and pay for the education of their children, so that they can thrive? Connecting the people to the global financial system to make instant and low-cost payment is very imperative to ensure prosperity and human development.

Africans have ideas, enterprises and other commercial activities that need scaling and the best infrastructure to be able to grow into corporations for global utilization. If we can equip young Africans to build communities, in their own identity, but connected to their brothers and sisters, prosperity would be in abundance.

Africans work so hard that they merit prosperity and the best living conditions available to them. DEMARS EMPOWERS communities and organizations by providing them with the tools to launch their own financial services.

DEMARS is bridging the financial gap through partnerships with community banks, savings and loans, micro-finance, cooperative banks, regional lenders and a store near you to deliver extremely cheaper, instant, mobile transfers across Africa and the world. It is time to connect all the African communities in a truly decentralized manner to exchange goods and services and prosper through cheaper payments.

We want payments to be free – ultimately. Money must move like e-mail. We have a plan to make money from management fees on savings products. Payments are just a gateway.

Our goal is to STOP the banks and corporations like Western Union, Moneygram and all the money transfer companies with the insanely high cost of cross border payments from eating your lunch. We provide the most efficient and reliable services at your convenience in your palms.

Purposely, our FOCUS is on migrant and remittance dependent communities throughout sub-Saharan Africa who pay more to send cash back home than anywhere else in the world. It is their inherent right to keep the fruits of their labour.

The Money App

DEMARS works hand-in-hand with the people to solve the high costs of moving funds around and to Africa through an affordable technical infrastructure (platform). We support NEW and EXISTING players to PROFITABLY take advantage of the high margins and excellent user experience.

The DEMARS Money App has everyone covered from Accra to Addis Ababa, Cape Town to Cairo and the rest of the globe. It is iOS and Android compatible, and the end-user can securely hold, exchange and transact. Wherever they may be.

With a regulatory compliant web-based admin dashboard, it enables organizations like your local credit unions, savings and loans, micro-finance, cooperative banks and small financial institutions to manage their clients, assets and track their revenues. Moreover, our API connects the platform to existing payments networks and banks throughout the world to ensure payments with the speed of lightning.

Additionally, the Money App is QR-code enabled, making all transactions quick and easy. Transfer any value, no matter how small and instantly from the convenience of your phone anywhere you find yourself.

In the end, everyone can save when they send money to their loved ones and pay for goods and services. DEMARS empowers you to cut out the banks and money transfer agents by going direct.

Join the REAL Decentralized Community that cares about the future of Africa and its hard-working people. Together, we EMPOWER our communities to grow in the interest of the African Child, fulfilling the authentic UBUNTU spirit.

Auto Imports In Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe, once a food basket is now at the verge of starvation amid an economic crisis fueled by monetary maladministration. The situation is so desperate that the savings of the citizenry have been wiped off by one of the most obnoxious hyperinflations in contemporary times.

Most people remember the days when you stroll into a bar to buy beer in the Southern African country, and if you’ve sufficient money to buy ten bottles, you buy it at a time and sit with it at your table. The reason was that anytime you get up to go to the counter, the price had gone up.

The price will go up multiple times in two hours you’re in a bar. Inflation went crazy, and many people were cash-strapped with a quintillion in their bank account.

The country by 2008 had no currency of its own and was using the US Dollar alongside nine other currencies as legal tender. You can walk into a shop and pay with the USD and get a change in South Africa Rand or Botswana Pula.

The move stabilized the economy for a while and saved the people from the headache of losing their labour. However, running cross-border payments and receiving international transfers are still quite tedious and dear.

The queues at Western Union stores and banks were as long as the Victoria Falls. Zimbabweans, even up to date, have to spend hours sending and receiving money and accessing other banking services.

Sometimes before it gets to your turn, there is no money, and you have to leave and come in the next day or probably a couple of days. The fact is corresponding banks can only facilitate your international transfer if you have funds in your Nostro account.

However, the banks in Zimbabwe are underfunded, and people can’t make cross-border payments without paying insane fees. The situation makes life unbearable for everyone, principally the business community.

The US Dollar is King in Zimbabwe! Most notably, it is a store of value with many businesses and merchants refusing to accept any other medium except that.

Reintroduction of Zimbo Dollars

Last year, out of the bloom, the government reintroduced the Zimbabwean dollar and outlawed the US Dollar as a medium of exchange. Alas! Hyperinflation returned big time with its concomitant high prices of essential goods and services.

At the end of 2019 alone inflation was staggering around 521.2 per cent, worsening life once again in the country. As of July 2020, the money supply is almost at 900 per cent with 2021 estimates predicted to hit 1500 per cent.

Yours sincerely was stranded in Zimbabwe from March 23 to July 31, 2020, due to COVID-19 lockdowns and travelling restrictions. The price of powdered milk in late March was RTGS 45, by July it was selling at RTGS 380.

The horrifying part is the government’s unwillingness to allow the market to determine the exchange rate between the Zimbabwean Dollars and the US Dollars. For instance, when the interbank rate was RTGS 60 to a dollar in June, the Black Market (the real market) rate was RTGS 95 to the USD.

The Auto Importers Predicament

Out of the $4.8 billion worth of goods imported internationally by Zimbabweans in 2019, vehicles accounted for $369.6 million representing 7.7% of the total imports. These cars are mainly used cars from countries like Japan, Singapore, South Africa and the UK.

Second-hand auto dealers who mostly import from Japan and Singapore have two options to pay for their goods. It is either via the banking system or travelling across the border to Zambia to make payment.

When using the local banking system, the dealer pays $100 per every $1000 transferred, which translates to a whopping 10 per cent rate per transaction. It no doubt eats into the profits of these businessmen and women.

Absorbingly, if the person does the transfer across the border in Zambia, he gets to save 50 per cent, irrespective of the bus fare that amounts to $50 round trip. Many of these people tend to go this route despite the travelling time and the risk involved.

Ironically, these services both in Zambia or Zimbabwe, take days for the money to get to its destination. The user experience is immensely horrible for anyone who goes through such a process.

These hard-working men and women deserve better in an era of cutting edge technology so that they can save, and invest in their children’s education and elsewhere in the ailing economy.

The technology is there to do it better.

The beauty of decentralised ledger technology is that small banks, cooperatives, micro-finance, community banks and any financial institution qualified to receive deposits can turn the situation around and save these auto dealers a great deal of money.

DEMARS provides technology, at no cost to implement – API’s & wallet’s to enable financial institutions to connect to next-generation cross border payment rails.

With these tools, new entrants and others who have previously not considered offering these services can solve big problems like these and ensure that Zimbabwean auto dealers don’t need to travel long distances to make international payments at cut-throat rates.

Who is DEMARS?

DEMARS is a technology services company.  Empowering organisations to offer digital services designed for the young, emerging customer, and satisfy a generation who at this point, demand services to be instantly available, and of the highest standard.

Cheaper Cross-Border Payments for SMEs

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are positively significant drivers of economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Official estimates indicate that the sector accounts for up to 90 per cent of all commercial enterprises in these economies.

These businesses include food processors, distributors, Agribusiness, education providers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, transport and logistics, importers and exporters, among many others. The continent relies on the sector to provide indispensable jobs and services to its copious unemployed youth and the entire population.

Its role in job generation is pretty meaningful, looking at the fact that in many African nations, the sector employs close to 90 per cent of the masses. Quite a sizeable percentage of the service industry depends on it for functionality and delivery.

Without the sector, many African families will go to bed on an empty stomach and can’t even educate their children. Needless to say, many African economies will lose a significant portion of their GDP if such businesses were not around.

The influence of SMEs on African economies over the decades is substantially colossal. However, the potential is gigantic, and if properly harness with the right regulatory framework, tools and technology, the impact would transform the continent to an economic powerhouse it desires earnestly.

Bottlenecks To African SMEs

Despite the critical contribution from the sector, it faces uncountable challenges that are, in fact, an obstruction to realizing its full potential and creating appreciable prosperity for the hard-working people of Africa. If the stakeholders give enough attention to eliminating those factors, it would unleash an enormous wealth for all, especially the growing youth population whose hands are waiting to work for the betterment of their lives.

According to the International Finance Corporation, Africa’s finance gap for SMEs stands at $331 billion. Though the industry provides 38 per cent of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP, yet 51 per cent of the continent’s 44 million approved SMEs lack the finance needed to expand to its fullest.

Besides underfunding, the business environment is not conducive to propel the necessary growth craved by the SME community. The regulatory environment must support entrepreneurship to be easy for job creation.

The obligation to concentrate on streamlining regulatory bottlenecks such as licensing, incorporation and taxation is imperative for success in the short to long-term basis. Lower entry into business should be a top priority for African nations since these burdensome factors drive many enterprises into the informal sector.

Cross-Border Payments

There again, SMEs find it very challenging to engage in cross border trading for quite some reasons. One of the most debilitating factors inhibiting profitability and access to markets is the lack of cheaper, faster and efficient cross-border payment systems for African SMEs with pleasant user experience.

For instance, it takes an average of three to five days to send funds from Ghana to neighbouring Nigeria through some banks, which is unsustainable in an era of globalization. More compounding, it cost more than 13 per cent proportionally to do that.

Not forgetting the pernicious exchange rate margins of 8.32 per cent, which are also another form of increasing the cost of moving funds for business outfits, and more complicated for the already struggling small scale and medium companies. When businesses have to go through such complicated procedures of paying suppliers and partners, it eats away their profits, increasing the cost of doing business, consequently restraining innovations and good service delivery at the detriment of all stakeholders.

To bring an African renaissance and usher in a new era of a golden age of business for our SMEs to reach its full potential, we must change the status quo. But the reality is that new tech can help small entities import/export and pay for goods and services expeditious and cheaper.

Our Role At DEMARS

At DEMARS, we are building cross-border payments infrastructure on the Stellar Network, which local institutions can quickly and cheaply plug into. Enabling them to reverse the narrative – by allowing SME’s without access to large banks and their expensive products the ability to quickly and cheaply pay their suppliers abroad. These are tools that can spur the growth of SMEs by saving them time and money when it comes to moving funds to facilitate cross-border exchanges.

Our dedication is to offer the quintessential technical foundation to organizations to run a remittance service in the slightest possible time, saving the latter months of development cost and time. Accordingly, it is remarkably lenient for institutions to launch their own remittance services.

The partnerships DEMARS is building across the continent with existing regional, community-focused financial institutions like Micro-Finance, Cooperative Banks, Credit Unions, Savings Clubs, and all deposit receiving financial institutions, provide tools and products to grow their financial services businesses. These are tools that can promote the activities of Africa’s SMEs communities and eradicate one of their toughest impediments.

Our technology is at no cost to implement to empower financial institutions to connect to next-generation cross-border payment anchors. The age of exposing African Small and medium enterprises to excessive fees for inherent financial services and denying them low-cost savings and investments are coming to an abrupt end.

DEMARS is bringing unprecedented prosperity to our beautiful continent with quicker and extremely affordable contactless mobile payment services. The future is here with us today, thanks to permissionless ledger technology.

Migrant Remittances

Afrikanus Kofi Akosah Adusei explains how DLT software services can lower the barriers to entry for companies offering money transfer services in Sub-Saharan Africa. Increased competition = better prices and services, thus making a huge difference in the lives of migrants and their families throughout the continent.

Logistics Companies

Afrikanus Kofi Akosah Adusei explaining how logistics companies in Africa (and their customers), who are already in the money transfer business, can benefit from DLT software services.