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Online platform Kaoshi, shortlisted for the 2019 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation

Money transfer platform Kaoshi was one of the technologies shortlisted for the fifth Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is tackling the broken system of international money transfer. The shortlist, which covered six countries, included this easy and secure online platform that exchanges currencies peer to peer, instead of through banks. This cuts costs and waiting times.



Kaoshi offers an easy way to send money directly to any country in the world. With just an e-mail address, users of this online application can send money in a simple, safe, fast and secure way.

In a statement, Rebecca Enonchong, the Cameroonian entrepreneur who is also a judge for the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, said, “The shortlist has come to represent the most talented engineers on the continent. Through the Africa Prize, we’ve seen cutting edge technologies and world firsts develop into businesses that manufacture locally and drive research and development on the continent. We can’t wait to meet the new group of engineering pioneers.”

The Nigerian engineers behind Kaoshi are founder and interim CEO Chukwunonso “Chooki” Arinze and co-founder and software engineer Obinna “Obi” Agba. According to his profile, Arinze had just started his PhD studies in Theoretical Physics at the University of Chicago when he discovered the financial crisis was making access to forex difficult in many sub-Saharan countries, due to plummeting oil prices. He decided to find an innovative solution to the broken system of international money transfer.

Along came Agba, who met Arinze when he was having trouble accessing foreign exchange for his graduate school application fee. They both undertook to study the money transfer market to understand the barriers to entry and the stringent financial regulations. According to their company’s website, they were soon both accepted into the Polsky Summer Accelerator programme at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, where they began developing their business idea and formalising the development of the Kaoshi platform.


Read: First South African innovation wins the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation

They managed to figure out how to use state of the art financial technology to facilitate international money transfer transactions in a safe, convenient and cheap way. They understood the necessity to create partnerships with African banks, because these would be crucial to overseeing the money transfers and regulatory aspects.

So Kaoshi was launched out of that accelerator programme in August 2018. The app takes on the high cost of transferring money to and between African countries, the hassle of dealing with financial institutions, and having to buy forex on the black market.

It connects users both within and outside of Africa, allowing each to specify the currencies they want to exchange and matching them to users making inverse exchanges.

Now, as one of the 16 shortlisted engineers, the founders will develop pertinent skills and become part of a growing community of talented African engineers working to accelerate socio-economic development through business.