IN 2016 AYO ADEWUNMI, a Nigerian-born agricultural trader living in London, bought a five-hectare farm in his homeland. It has produced little since. “I am not in the country, so I have to rely on third parties. It’s just not good enough,” he says.
Mr Adewunmi has since discovered another, potentially more satisfactory way to make such investments: through FarmCrowdy, a crowdfunding platform that lends to Nigerian farms and provides technical assistance to their owners. The two-year-old startup, which is considering expanding into Ghana, places high hopes in the African diaspora as a source of funds.
The case for such platforms goes beyond agriculture. Global remittances are expected to soar from $ 468bn in 2010 to $ 667bn in 2019. They are among the top two foreign-currency sources in several countries, including Kenya and the Philippines. Yet hardly any of the money is invested.
In part, this is because recipients use three-quarters of the money for…