After a series of investment in small startups companies this year and especially in the last weeks (inside.beer, 5.7.2019, 28.6.2019, 18.6.2019, 19.3.2019, 19.2.2019) it became known that AB InBev through its venture capital division ZX Ventures, increased already last month its stake in blockchain trailblazer BanQu (pronounced Bank-You). BanQu is “the world’s first and only non-cryptocurrency blockchain platform,” according to their own website, and helps to ”lift people out of extreme poverty by connecting them to the global supply chains they participate in and the brands, organizations, and governments that power them.”
BanQu estimates that 60 percent of the world’s 2.7 billion unbanked people own mobile phones, which can be used to participate in the global economy. “Together, we are working to improve access to modern banking for thousands of farmers in underserved rural markets, driving inclusive growth and contributing to our own 2025 Sustainability Goal,” said Tony Milikin, chief sustainability and procurement officer at AB InBev.
Already last year, BanQu started in conjunction with AB InBev a pilot program in Zimbabwe to help 2,000 farmers growing and selling 2,000 tons of cassava. Cassava is a root vegetable that is used in the production of beer and can partly replace malt that is mostly imported to tropical and subtropical countries.
“Our technology provides a platform where refugees, the displaced, and the world’s poorest can maintain a free, secure online profile that allows them to begin tracking their relationships and transactions. Over time, they build a recognizable, vetted economic identity, which is the base prerequisite to participating in any form of ownership or transactions in the global economy,” says the company.
After successfully starting in Zimbabwe, BanQu rolled out the program to other markets in Uganda and India. In addition, the platform was already installed in many other countries, including Brazil, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Jordan, Malawi, Somalia, South Africa, Syria, United States, and Zambia with many more to come.
“AB InBev has been an incredible partner to BanQu over the past year, and together we have innovated and scaled the BanQu platform across multiple countries and thousands of farmers. Farmers at the world’s “last mile,” traditionally excluded from the global economy and lacking a verifiable economic identity, are now visible, financially empowered, and connected in the global supply chain of AB InBev,” says BanQu Co-Founder and CEO Ashish Gadnis. “The ZX investment takes this partnership to a whole new level of commitment on both sides. It cements our core shared vision of making the world a better place while being good business stewards.”