This morning, I read about a new crowdfunding scheme in South Africa on the BBC website. Instead of the next tech or innovation, using Live Stock Wealth, you can buy a cow! Technology meets tradition and becomes innovation! (I wonder why they didn’t call it Cowfunding!)
The system was born out of frustration. Ntuthuko Shezi, a former graduate from the University of Cape Town and a serial entrepreneur, had wanted to find his way onto the stock market, but became frustrated by missed opportunities. His thoughts led him to traditional wealth. Across much of Africa, cows have been, and still are used as a source of wealth. The more cows you have, the more wealthy you are. Cows are often used to pay dowries and in other rites throughout the continent. There is even a “Lobolo” (dowry) calculator app in South Africa that can help you calculate how many cows you are worth! The problem is, with increased urbanisation, and also land issues across Africa, many people do not have the possibility to farm cows.
This service allows people to invest in cows from anywhere in South Africa and outside! You make an initial investment, to buy the 3 month pregnant cow, and then pay a small monthly fee for it’s upkeep. 7 months after the calf is born it is then sold on your behalf to feedlots or abattoirs. Live Stock Wealth estimate that investors will receive between 16%-20% return on investment.
This system is a good introduction into the investments sector. People can invest in a tangible product and know that 7 months after their calf has been born, they will see their investment mature.
‘Cow Funding’ has got my mind ticking over. Can crowdfunding be used in other agricultural settings? There is potential for it to be used to rejuvenate the agricultural setting. I have written, and will write again about the importance of agriculture to Africa and its development. If crowd funding can be used to increase investment and therefore increase yields and efficiency, it would go a long way to enabling Africa to feed itself and not rely on imports.
If crowd funding can make a difference to African farming, both livestock and crops, then there is potential to make change elsewhere. Could it help with the power crisis that many countries have to deal with daily? Is there a way of harnessing crowd funding to deal with recycling, or in conversation of the environment and animals?
If you know of any other innovative crowd funding solutions in Africa, please let me know. Comment below, or send me a tweet @InventiveAfrica.