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US-based Kountable considers blockchain to streamline trade in East Africa

Kenya , 23 May 2018

US-based Kountable considers blockchain to streamline trade in East Africa

Following its launch late last year, US-based technology and trade firm Kountable is partnering with SMEs within the East Africa region in its bid to secure early traction.

Kountable has already signed an agreement with the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) to open the platform to its SME members to ensure their businesses do not fail in supply by matching them to other companies offering the same goods and facilitating the trade.

The company is focused on ICT, healthcare, industrial and energy equipment, and plans to cover other verticals.

"At the end of the day, it is how quickly you can make goods trade faster and make transactions in the supply chain easier," said Bramuel Mwalo, Kenyan Country Manager at Kountable.

Speaking at the Global Trade Review Africa conference in Nairobi, Mwalo said, "The supply chain trade in Africa is at US$3 trillion. Banks in trade finance only finance thirty percent of that. Some of the SMEs do not have collateral or the power to move supply goods from offshore countries."

"These are the reasons why banks and financial institutions are unable to finance them. They do not take performance risk," he added.

Kountable makes heavy use of cleaned data to ensure that SMEs fit the financing profile. They then pay upfront for the supplies and ensure they are successful.

Mwalo said the lack of data in Africa represents a challenge to companies trying to establish a strong credit history, effectively locking them out of finance.

"We consume the risk for SME's and in Kenya we are working with banks, local suppliers and vendors," Mwalo said.

The company also has its presence in Rwanda and Mauritius.

Mwalo said that the Kountable will be experimenting with blockchain technology in their platform to enhance their trust network.

"What blockchain will do is to make receivables transfer possible because the integrity and source of documents is transparent in a supply chain," Mwalo said.

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