Mukuru on PBS

Posted: 15th April 2010 by admin in Remittance methods

Great article on news in Zimbabwe, featuring Zimbabwean run companies helping the economy and their friends and families back home. Here is an excerpt that explains how Mukuru allows fuel to be sent to Zimbabwe via SMS:

“Among the most popular of these Web sites is Mukuru, which means “respected” or “awesome” in many southern African dialects. Rob, who wants to use only his first name, is a founder. He came to Britain from Zimbabwe in 2002 and started working in Cambridge at a high-tech firm that deals with content for mobile phones.

In his spare time, Rob would get together with expat Zimbabweans and talk about what the high-tech community could do for friends and family back home. That’s when they hit upon an idea.

“We thought we could set up a system where a first-world buyer, say in London or the States, could use a text message to send value to their relatives in Zimbabwe,” Rob tells me.

Mukuru works a little like Amazon.com or most other ecommerce Web sites — you go there and choose from a variety of goods. The most popular, Rob says, is fuel. “A shopper throws 60 liter of fuel into their online shopping cart, and when they check out, they designate a recipient in Africa with just their name and their mobile phone number.”

Mukuru then fires off a text message to that recipient and to the company’s office in Zimbabwe. The messages contain a unique 10-digit code. The recipient in Zimbabwe goes to the Mukuru office with mobile phone in hand and allows the agent to verify the code and the identity of the recipient. From there, the agent issues a paper voucher for the fuel. Vouchers can be redeemed at a number of gas stations across the country.”

Send fuel to Zimbabwe or send money to Zimbabwe, either way, helping your friends and family, instantly.