Janeffer Wacheke, co-owner of a fresh-vegetable stall, checks her mobile phone for a purchase order of vegetables and fruits made to Twiga Foods Ltd., while on her stall in Nairobi, Kenya, on June 11, 2018. Wacheke's fresh-vegetable stall in Nairobi uses technology that's helping crack a problem Kenyan banks have so far failed to solve -- measuring the creditworthiness of traders in the country's $20 billion informal economy.
Luis Tato—Bloomberg/Getty Images

The typical Kenyan household spends more than half its disposable income on groceries, largely because inefficient supply chains lead to high prices. Kenyan e-commerce outlet Twiga Foods has a solution: it lets retailers place orders via mobile device and grants them 48 hours of interest-free credit, giving them time to sell what they order to customers before the bill comes due. “This means our clients can buy what their customers want, not just the goods they can afford,” says CEO and co-founder Peter Njonjo. To further cut costs, Twiga is now growing some of its fastest-selling products—including onions, tomatoes, and watermelons—itself.

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