Esmeralda and I (Semyon) just had a call with the president of the National Microfinance Bank of Tanzania, which operates through 135 branches across the country. This is the bio of the man we spoke with, just to give you all a sense of Esmeralda's accomplishment in arranging this.
Mr. Ben Christiaanse understood and valued what we were trying to do. He suggested strongly that we sell bikes together with our adapters, which I said we could retail for under $200, because if someone were to approach them for a microloan for a rahi+sheller or grinder, they might as well get a new bike as most bikes there are in sad shape. He said a loan would typically be for 6 months, and carry perhaps a 20% interest rate. We need to further investigate the possibility of selling a complete solution, perhaps still partnering with the bike shops so that they procure the bike, but they would then assemble it all together and sell it for one price. I'm sure that bike shops would be most interested in working with us if we can promise them not only a new product, but also better access to loans for their customers. In any event, Mr. Christiaanse promised to set up a meeting for me with the NMB Arusha branch manager as soon as I arrive, so that we could hopefully create a trial partnership to mention right at Nane Nane.
Great job, Esmeralda!!