In March, after invading the world corona virus began to spread to Africa. Just a short time later, different members of the tech continent’s black technology ecosystem tried to stop the spread of this epidemic.
In early March, the number of countries in Africa with people infected with the coronary virus stopped at one figure, but by the middle of the month, the number of countries with people infected with the virus soared so that WHO had to issue a warning about the situation in the country. this place.
“About 10 days ago, we only had 5 countries with people infected, now we have 30 different countries.” WHO regional director, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said at a press conference on March 19. “The speed of spread is going extremely fast.”
According to WHO statistics on Tuesday, there were 3671 cases of Covid-19 in sub-Saharan region and 87 deaths from the virus – a sharp increase compared to 463 infections and 8 deaths. March 18.
Change cash usage habits
As Covid-19 was spreading rapidly in major economies in the region, governments and startups in Africa began to take measures to shift a large number of transactions to digital payments and to limit them. using cash – which is considered by WHO as one of the sources of Corona virus transmission.
The leading African country in universalizing digital payments, Kenya, has turned to mobile money as a tool for public health.
At the urging of the Central Bank and President Uhura Kenyatta, Safaricom, the country’s largest telecom operator, offered free transactions on the continent’s leading mobile money product, M-Pesa, to reduce delivery. Cash translation.
The company also announced that interpersonal transactions worth less than 1,000 Kenyan Schillings (about US $ 10) will be free for three months. Kenya is one of the countries with the highest digital payment approval rates in the world – largely thanks to the dominance of M-Pesa in the country – with about 32 million people out of a population of 53 million. sign up for a mobile money account,
On March 20, Ghana’s Central Bank required mobile money service providers to waive the transaction fee for payments below 100 GH ₵ (about 18 USD), in addition to the Restrictions to withdraw cash from e-wallets.
Ghana’s monetary regulator also relaxed KYC requirements for mobile money, allowing citizens to use cell phone registrations to open accounts at digital payment service providers.
The number of people infected with Covid-19 is rising rapidly in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa with more than 200 million people, prompting one of the biggest digital payment startups in the country to take action.
The Paga Investment Fund in Lagos has made a number of fee adjustments, allowing merchants to accept free payments to Paga’s customers – a “measure” to slow down the spread of corona virus by reducing cash transactions in Nigeria. ”
And other aspects of the Covid-19 crisis
In March, Africa’s largest startup incubator, CcHub, announced plans to provide technical and financial support to technology projects aimed at curbing Covid-19 and socioeconomic impacts. its.
The organization in Lagos and Nairobi also posted a public online application on its website, in order to provide grants ranging from US $ 5,000 to US $ 100,000 for companies with Covid-19 related projects.
Zindi, another startup in Cape Town, South Africa, has taken a broader approach. As a startup using AI and machine learning to solve complex problems, Zindi launched a contest with 12,000 registered engineers on their platform.
The competition for finding solutions to Covid-19 was organized by Zindi.
This contest will set out a task for scientists to create data models to predict the global spread of Covid-19 over the next 3 months. The competition will run until April 19 with solutions that will be compared with estimates of future numbers to find the winner and receive $ 5,000.
In addition, Zindi is sponsoring another hackathon in April to find solutions to corona virus related problems.
For digital retail, Jumia has announced measures to curb the spread of Covid-19. With operations across 11 African countries, Jumia said it will donate masks to the health ministries in Kenya, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Nigeria and Uganda, taking out from the party supply network. outside of Africa.
The company also asked African governments to use delivery networks to deliver to their health care workers and workers. Furthermore, Jumia is considering adding other support measures to the public sector. “If governments find them useful, we are willing to do that.” Jumia CEO Sacha Poignonnec said.