By Lamin Cham
Baluwo is an e-commerce platform targeted at the West African diaspora living in Europe and North America which enables them to purchase products or services for their families back home and therefore gives them better control of the funds they usually send. Through Baluwo, users can buy food and construction materials as well as mobile phone and electricity top-ups for their families in a very simple and intuitive way.
Baluwo is now available for anyone who wants to help some of the most left behind people in these countries either by buying them a bag of rice or KW of electricity.
Products are delivered in real time and the benefactor receives confirmation of delivery to their families in a very simple and intuitive way.
Set up in 2017 in The Gambia, Baluwo is an innovative platform that links the diaspora with their families back home providing them with a reliable supply chain of provisions and materials for family maintenance and upkeep in absentia. Among The Gambian dispora, Baluwo has now grown to be the most sought-after solution for diaporans to keep their families’ bread basket in their wallet wherever they are or travel around the globe. Baluwo, (feeding in Mandinka) is simply and literally a street corner shop where a family can just walk in and collect all kind of provisions for the family, paid for by their breadwinners abroad. ”It works very well and is so simple. Baluwo has a network of shop keepers around the country. All one needs is use their platform to buy provisions for one’s family anywhere in the country and the family contact person receives a text directing them to the nearest Baluwo partner-shopkeeper- to collect the items which range from rice, condiments, oil, flour and all kind of family needs. Equally, construction materials, bill payments, cash-power, health care, Tobaski rams, gift cards, internet bundles and many more items can be bought for the family through the Baluwo platform. The Baluwo central office in the country which employs a sizable staff coordinates all payments to shopkeepers under the platform promptly and accurately.
The Baluwo concept is a true win -win situation for all. Families don’t’ have to hassle or travel long distances to collect their provisions. Shopkeepers are happy that they get sales from customers with high spending power, moreover, the absent bread winner is assured that his or her family is getting its feeding effective as he or she paid for and the GSM companies are happy that their networks are used for communications from end to end of the transactions.
Around the continent Baluwo’s Helping Africa’ Initaitive supports socially motivated African institutions such as schools and orphanages through local businesses promoted by Baluwo, a social impact company. In The Gambia Baluwo executes this initiative through the Kaddy and Fatou Gaye foundations.
“Now the company has grown to be present in 14 countries and making profits. But The Gambia has a special place in its history which is not limited to just the founding place but the origin of its proud Mandinka brand name Baluwo,” CEO and investor Joseph Arroyo told a ‘thank you’ dinner of stakeholders and new sponsorship partner Gambia Football Federation (GFF) at Cocoa Ocean Friday.
Alive to its special relations with The Gambia, Baluwo has taken upon itself to plough its profit back to the country through sponsorship and philanthropic activities. These include bank rolling football clubs such as the Greater Tomorrow FC of Brikama.
The most recent and biggest move by Baluwo in this respect is a lucrative sponsorship deal with the Gambia Football Federation for the first division league signed last Friday.
The GFF president Lamin Kaba Bajo said the intervention of Baluwo as sponsors of the first division is timely, coming at a time when the GFF has just signed a deal with Fifa to broadcast its league around the globe. He said the GFF is looking forward to lengthy and even more expanded relations with Baluwo.
Baluwa’s platform is at www.baluwo.com