The way e-commerce is designed today does not enable participation from the Base of the Pyramid. Purchasing power is low, the rural poor have no means to make online payments and there is no delivery infrastructure in place.


Copia’s objective is to unlock the Kenyan underserved rural market by replacing inefficient and expensive distribution and sales with an Amazon-like e-commerce and delivery system that takes advantage of recent innovations in mobile technologies. Its business model is implemented through agents (rural shopkeepers) who serve as ordering and pick-up point. The e-catalogue includes many products of trusted suppliers at very competitive prices. Customers visit their nearest agent, browse through the e-catalogue and place orders. Customers pay the agent for the goods in one lump sum or in small instalments on a layaway plan. Product suppliers transfer the ordered products to a Copia hub, from which these are distributed to agents.


In order to widen its financial solutions for rural customers, Copia will partner with 4G Capital Ltd. The Copia solution will start to include credit facilities and a savings tool. These new services will allow rural customers to buy (at competitive prices) much-needed products, such as agricultural inputs, for which they lack liquidity.


Copia will select, train and equip agents to serve 84,285 rural people within the project. Copia will hire 105 new employees. Through mobile ordering and payment, charging competitive prices, and by offering a credit and savings mechanism, rural households are becoming economically and financially included.


Photo credit: White African

Project location

Nairobi, Kenya


Copia Kenya Limited

External funding

Grant funding by the Fund for Rural Prosperity (MasterCard Foundation): USD 550,000

Project period

September 2017 - August 2019