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I find the effort here commendable, but it will probably not take a very long time for these guys to realize that "Africa is not a country" . I'm Nigerian, and I have been to a few African countries. First of all the challenges you have to overcome while doing business in Nigeria alone, varies wildly from one City to another. Now comparing that to East Africa for example, the difference is night and day. It may serve these guys well to begin their venture in one African country they find most familiar / friendly, then expand their efforts from there.

Obviously Africa is a huge and incredibly diverse place, but listing all of the countries in which Zidisha is currently working in the headline is kind of impractical. Julia (the founder of Zidisha) certainly isn't naive to the realities of working in Africa either -- you can read more about her experiences at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/julia-kurnia/why-i-founded-zid... and she's also responding to questions here as "jkurnia".

Hi nanijoe, we have not yet had the chance to offer a program in Nigeria, but hope to soon.

We chose Kenya as the first country to pilot Zidisha, largely because it was the world leader in mobile phone-based payments, which we use to disburse the loans and receive payments electronically. Also, internet and Facebook penetration was especially high in Kenya, and that made it easy for many people to adopt and share our service.

We currently offer loans in these countries:

Benin Burkina Faso Ghana Guinea Indonesia Kenya Niger Senegal Zambia


One thing to note is Kiva has been doing direct lending in Kenya for about 2 years now using M-PESA via Kiva Zip. Zidisha still has some differences, but I'm surprised at the confrontational tone a lot of Zidisha posts have taken towards Kiva. We're both trying to solve some of the same problems, would be great if instead of negativity, we could work together on doing that, share learnings etc. Anytime I get the chance, I share learnings or offer to help Watsi, and I'd like to think I could feel the same way towards Zidisha.

Hi nowarninglabel, I did publish a post last week comparing our service with Kiva Zip: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/julia-kurnia/zidisha-vs-kiva-z...

I wrote this to provide greater clarity to our users and the public, who frequently asked how our services were different. Some readers had the impression that the post was meant to attack Kiva Zip. That was not my intention.

In fact, Kiva Zip and Zidisha have helped each other, and exchanged lessons learned, for over two years now. See https://zip.kiva.org/blogs/4

Was just reading up on Kiva and Zidisha on Wikipedia, and noticed this on the Kiva talk page. Looks like someone at Zidisha (from a Mountain View IP) edited Kiva's Wikipedia page to add criticism of Kiva and plug Zidisha. Is this part of the "help" you're referring to above?

<< Zidisha Edits

Removed the lengthy section spotlighting a known competing organization, Zidisha from the interest rates section. The information is consistent with Zidisha marketing language and the editor IP is attached to a series of edits inserting Zidisha into other pages. Seems like clear COI: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/67.188.17...

IP is also in Mountain View, where Zidisha is working this quarter http://www.ip-adress.com/reverse_ip/ https://www.zidisha.org/forum/threads/zidisha-launches-at-y-... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Djbrusca (talk • contribs) 17:01, 3 March 2014 (UTC) >>

Hi kanamekun, thanks for bringing up the point about Zidisha being a competing organization with Kiva. Do you think it would be better for readers if they were not aware of Zidisha as an alternative way of addressing the high interest rates charged by Kiva partners?

That's not how Wikipedia works. Everyone always thinks that readers should be made aware of their own service, so they're constantly editing promotional info into various pages.

At the very least, you should always disclose your affiliation with Zidisha when making edits:

<< COI (Conflict of Interest) editing is strongly discouraged. COI editors causing disruption may be blocked. Editors with COIs who wish to edit responsibly are strongly encouraged to follow Wikipedia policies and best practices scrupulously. They are also encouraged to disclose their interest on their user pages and on the talk page of the article in question, and to request the views of other editors. If you have a conflict of interest, any changes you would like to propose that might be seen as non-neutral should be suggested on the relevant talk page or noticeboard. >>


I see now that somebody has removed the mention of Zidisha as a lower-interest alternative and left a discussion of Kiva Zip in its place.

It looks like someone reverted your conflicted edits, and posted about the edit to the Talk page:



That's pretty much spot on policy for Wikipedia.

Julia has collaborated with Kiva in the past.


Kenya is also fairly unique on the continent, outside of South Africa, in that you can access pretty good internet. We pay attention to emerging markets for online services and we've noticed recently that Kenya is coming up strong in terms of demand.

In the past year especially, many of the loan uses we are seeing in Kenya are computer or internet-related. The internet is spreading fast among young adults. Here is a pretty typical account, posted a few days ago by one of our new members:

"Despite being born and raised in the rural parts of Kenya, I have managed to train and get tech savvy. I grew up with no electricity and i first saw a computer when i was 19years old when i enrolled for further studies. I put in long hours after classes just to be able to catch up with my peers. I learnt to create programmes and i had my first commercial software in the second year of campus. In my fourth year of campus, I had to drop out of school because of lack of school fees. I got a job that enabled me to save up enough money to clear my studies."


This mindset seems to be relatively prevalent in Western business circles, but I don't think that is the mindset of this person. I think he's simply interested in distributing micro loans for interesting projects in Africa. Admittedly, it would be nice to have a little more direction to go off of than that.

If anyone reading this is interested check out the book "Success in Africa" to get an in depth look into the perception of Africa as a single homogenous place.

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