Those looking to future-proof their business for success in a post-COVID economy recognise that embracing technology helps businesses in Africa withstand unforeseen and economic crises.
For example, M-Pesa, Africa's most successful mobile money service that allows for cashless and contactless payments has offered businesses a safer way to conduct transactions, protecting both consumers and merchants.
Our operations in Lesotho, Mozambique, DRC and Tanzania also introduced various changes to make it easier to use the M-PESA service during lockdowns. These include increasing daily wallet limits, waiving some of the P2P fees and merchant payments fees paid by customer, reducing transaction fees and promoting the use of M-PESA over in-shop purchases to limit interactions between people and curb the spread of the virus. As an example, Vodacom Lesotho implemented zero fees for merchant transactions up to the value of M50.
COVID-19 was also a loud wake-up call to Africa to invest in more responsive and resilient healthcare systems to not only improve population health but also contribute to economic growth. This is why we have been focusing our efforts on supporting African governments in combat the spread of the virus by building more resilient healthcare systems.
For example, in South Africa we partnered with Discovery Health to alleviate pressure on the country’s healthcare system. In Tanzania, we provided the Ministry of Health with 10 Mobile Routers and bundles to assist them in their response efforts. In the DRC, we provided an SMS broadcast to our entire customer base with information and updates from Government around the pandemic. In Mozambique, we provided free connectivity to ministries, airports and NGOs, and in Lesotho we sponsored a toll-free call centre and WhatsApp line for information and guidance around the pandemic.
This moment of crisis is the perfect opportunity to reflect on how we can reimagine the way we do business. But to be effective, these efforts should bring together all stakeholders with the aim of building strong, resilient businesses and systems that embrace innovation to respond to and recover from future crises.