Gazata DotCo is South Africa’s first peer-to-peer online lending platform and is on a journey to disrupt Africa’s credit industry. Low-income workers, such as domestic workers and gardeners, have little access to credit due to a lack of loan security and unfavourable credit scores. Their only option is obtaining credit from informal micro lenders who charge exorbitant interest rates, which leads to spiralling debt. On the flip side is South Africa’s young middle-class who are better educated, earn a higher salary or run their own small businesses, and are in search of multiple streams of income, but dislike bank investment accounts as these yield little return. Gazata DotCo helps marginalised communities access alternative credit by connecting individuals who need credit, with individuals who are willing to lend money – using automated technology that matches the right lender with the right borrower. The absence of banks means that the cost of credit is much lower, and lenders’ returns are better. Gazata DotCo is targeting 20 000 users on its web-based platform within three years, with its sights firmly set on the local stokvel market that has 11.5 million members and an estimated US$3.3 billion/ZAR52,734 billion in members’ savings.

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