Diaspora Kapita: Vhusi Phiri's R15,000 Savings Club (Mukando) Turns into Million-Dollar Venture, Set for Victoria Falls Stock Exchange Listing!

From humble beginnings to a financial powerhouse, BridgeFort Capital Limited (BCL), a Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed private equity firm, is on the verge of a groundbreaking acquisition. The company is in the final stages of securing a deal with Diaspora Kapita Proprietary Limited, a predominantly South African-based business, in a move that may significantly impact BCL's stock prices, according to a recent statement.

The businesses being pursued operate in the financial services and fintech sectors, which led this writer to go through Diaspora Kapita's business portfolio and give a notable focus to Tsigiro Usekelo. This exciting new venture, a subsidiary of Diaspora Kapita was co-founded by Vhusi Phiri, a Zimbabwean-born and South Africa-based entrepreneur who also serves as the CEO of Diaspora Kapita, established in 2014. 

Diaspora Kapita and Tsigiro Usekelo Co-Founder, Vhusi Phiri
Diaspora Kapita and Tsigiro Usekelo Co-Founder, Vhusi Phiri

The name "Diaspora Kapita" reflects the company's roots and dedication to initiatives driven by Zimbabwe's diaspora community. "Our initial strategy involved monthly contributions, with each member putting in approximately 3,000 Rands. This collective pool amounted to roughly 15,000 Rands, which translated to around 1,000 USD at prevailing exchange rates. These funds were then accessible within the group, serving as a source for loans that could be invested. Returns generated were repaid to our company, completing the cycle." Shared Vhusi Phiri reflecting on the journey and his company's roots in an interview published last year by MarcoPolis. 

The company underwent a significant strategy shift by moving away from an equal participation model, recognizing the importance of accommodating individual contributions based on capacity. Members committed to a minimum monthly contribution of 3,000 Rands for about three years, with these funds strategically invested across various sectors, reflecting a commitment to passive investment. 

The dual-pronged approach, involving separate assets from the founders, played a crucial role in shaping the company's journey. "This approach continued for about one to two years, during which we recognized a need for growth beyond our equal shareholder structure and equal say. Thus, in 2014, we embarked on expanding our entity, leading to the birth of Diaspora Kapita." he continued. 

In addition, the company operated its own ventures in Zimbabwe. In 2019, it became apparent that active management was crucial for Diaspora Kapita's growth. Prior to this, the CEO had a five-year stint at PwC, starting in 2014 after selling a consulting company co-founded with five friends. 

"In 2019, we initiated the full-time management of Diaspora Kapita," says Vhusi Phiri in an interview published by MarcoPolis. "Concurrently, we recognized the need for consolidation. Considering my involvement in various companies alongside other partners, a decision was taken to streamline and diminish conflicts of interest. All these entities were amalgamated as subsidiaries under the umbrella of Diaspora Kapita. Our overarching objective from the outset was to eventually extend the scope of Diaspora Kapita to encompass the wider diaspora community, a goal that is currently in progress." he continued.

Diaspora Kapita's portfolio now spans diverse sectors. In mining, the company collaborates with major entities such as Freda Rebecca and Bindura Nickel Corporation, providing contract mining services. "At Northlands Resources, we have a workforce of around 80 individuals, and our approximate annual turnover is in the range of $4 million," says Vhusi Phiri. The agriculture sector sees investments in cattle through AgroStrong, where innovative financial products leverage cattle as collateral. 

Additionally, the company has a presence in the financial services domain through 21st Century Life, operating in South Africa for over 25 years with expansion plans. "Our involvement extends to 21st Century Life, which offers funeral policies in South Africa. Moreover, we play a supportive role for Old Mutual Zimbabwe in their business expansion and funeral services sector." he continues.

Diaspora Kapita's latest Fintech business, Tsigiro Usekelo aims to address a crucial concern for Zimbabwe's diaspora community by proposing a unique initiative. The aim is to enable easier property ownership by forming partnerships with financial institutions, leading to adjusted loan conditions for Tsigiro members. "Our approach with Tsigiro Usekelo involves forming a bridge with financial institutions. We propose that loan conditions can be adjusted as long as an individual is part of Tsigiro. This means lower deposit requirements, extended repayment periods, and more manageable terms." says Vhusi Phiri.

Anticipating a substantial impact, Tsigiro targets the diaspora population, estimating an $8 billion potential mortgage amount. The initiative actively collaborates with financial institutions in Zimbabwe, South Africa, and beyond, providing a tangible solution for diaspora members seeking property ownership. 

Tsigiro Usekelo recently forged a strategic partnership with SendHome, a South African company, to facilitate remittances, capturing a portion of the $2 billion remitted to Zimbabwe from South Africa. In an interview with The Herald, Vhusi Phiri shared his ambitious plans and hinted at a potential listing on the Victoria Falls Exchange in Q1 2024, which then led me back to the recent cautionary statement by Bridgefort Capital. 

Looking ahead to 2024, In the same Herald article, Vhusi Phiri shared that Tsigiro Usekelo aims to issue diaspora bonds, addressing challenges faced by the diaspora community in securing mortgages in Zimbabwe. The company envisions a $4 billion opportunity, supporting up to 100,000 households with a 10 percent deposit requirement for clients. The majority of funding will be sourced externally, reflecting the company's commitment to innovative solutions for financial inclusion.

As Diaspora Kapita looks to the future, the vision remains inclusive and ambitious, with a commitment to involving a broader diaspora community in the ongoing efforts to elevate and expand their diverse enterprises. 

The storyline of this article was sourced from various online publications.

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Mungwadzi Godwin

twitterinstagramI like sharing positive stories about Zimbabweans at home and abroad. I also write articles on Personal Finance, Fashion, Music, and Tech. Let's connect!

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