As the effects of the coronavirus continue to bite, many countries in Africa are turning to technology to fight this pandemic.  

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In most African nations, governments have undertaken extreme health measures such as sensitization campaigns, lockdowns, curfews, and the production of test kits and masks. African tech companies and startups have also not been left behind and are developing digital solutions to meet the unprecedented challenges of the coronavirus.

These solutions include Check-in App And Symptom Tracker that was developed by Ghanaian health startup Redbird (formerly Redbird Health Tech), and Chipper Cash that allows to send and receive money across the African continent at no fee. By doing this, platforms like Chipper Cash have significantly assisted in reducing the physical handling of cash. Going cashless has so much been encouraged as it minimizes the risk of coronavirus. We have also seen different other organisations including Safaricom and Jumia encouraging this. 

Safaricom partnered with public transport sector players to accept cashless payments through M-PESA. 

“Many businesses are seeing an increase in demand to accept M-PESA payments due to the ongoing concerns around the Coronavirus’’ Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, the Chief Financial Services Officer at Safaricom says. 

‘’…..Our partnership with the different public transit players brings the convenience and safety of M-PESA to this crucial sector given the widespread uptake of public transport across the country,” he adds.

Jumia also announced that it had stopped the use of cash for payments with all customers now having to pay via mobile money or bank cards via JumiaPay platform.

“This is according to Central Bank of Kenya guidelines that we deter from use of cash as it has been found to be a major vector for Coronavirus infections. You can pay upfront or await delivery to make payments via mobile cashless platforms,” Jumia Kenya MD Sam Chappatte says. 

Platforms like Chipper Cash are allowing customers in Kenya to transfer money of up to Ksh.2 million per day or Ksh.15 million per week. Chipper Cash was developed in the heart of Silicon Valley in San Francisco by Uganda’s Ham Serunjogi and Ghana’s Maijid Moujaled, Chipper Cash and launched in October 2018. It’s  is available on both Android and iOS mobile devices.

“Chipper Cash is enabling Africans to transfer and receive money across Africa in a fast, free and easy way right from their mobile phones. We hope to expand this untapped opportunity in Kenya and continue bringing Africa together, one transaction at a time,” Co-founder and CEO of Chipper Cash, Ham Serunjogi says. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported that Africa would see coronavirus cases rise from current thousands to 10 million within three to six months.  Africa’s tech innovators offering low cost and more advanced tech solutions like Chipper Cash have taken the lead in developing solutions that curb the spread of the virus. 

Going cashless is setting us up for a cashless society and could indeed be one of the positives to pick from the coronavirus pandemic. 

Featured Image: Boniface Mungania(left)Head of M-PESA product Management at Safaricom PLC handover the Lipa na M-PESA tag to Cyan Mbuthia conductor at Forward Traveler Sacco. 

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