South African rand notes in a file photo. Picture: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
South African rand notes in a file photo. Picture: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

In this edition of Business Day Spotlight, the focus is on creating the first cashless city in Africa using blockchain technology.

Host Mudiwa Gavaza is joined by Forus Foundation CEO Sonny Fisher to discuss fintech’s role in pushing the SA economy forward.

The Forus Foundation is a Nelson Mandela Bay-based fintech company that has recently developed a digital exchange platform called CoegaX, used for procurement, financing and capital formation.

Fisher says the platform is aligned with the Coega industrial development zone (IDZ) in Port Elizabeth with the aim of leveraging the economic opportunity the area.

He explains that the business essentially provides trade finance for small-scale farmers and other related business in the area. Farmers receive loans to allow for bulk orders and purchases, the money being loaded onto a card that can be used to transact. Once business is concluded and stock is sold, CoegaX makes money by charging a commission on those goods.

The discussion ends with Fisher articulating the product's goal to make Port Elizabeth the first cashless city in Africa. By working with the SA Social Security Agency, for example, in future a person could receive digital money on their card, and buy and sell all goods and services without cash, including travel on taxis, which Fisher says they are already working on.

As the system uses blockchain technology, which provides a digital registry of all value movements, Fisher says their part of goal is also reduce the incidence of corruption in SA.

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Business Day Spotlight is a MultimediaLIVE Production.