Nigeria-based eCommerce and payments startup Jumia is supporting the fight against COVID-19 in Africa by using its platform to offer information, delivery and supplies.
“We are proud to partner with relevant authorities to help fight against COVID-19 and assist our communities [that] continue to support us,” Juliet Anammah, group head of institutional affairs at Jumia, said in a statement. “eCommerce platforms like ours, with ePayment and last-mile delivery capabilities, are uniquely positioned to be part of Africa’s response strategy to this pandemic, and we are swiftly taking actions.”
The company is partnering with vendors such as Reckitt Benckiser to offer contactless delivery of food and other necessities to all areas, including remote and rural locations. Commissions are being waived on certain sanitary items to help consumers get them at the lowest price, and measures have been implemented to control prices.
By tapping networks beyond Africa, Jumia has been able to donate and distribute face masks to numerous health ministries in Uganda, Kenya, Morocco and more. Using its last-mile delivery capabilities, the startup has said it would coordinate mask distribution to medical networks.
In keeping with the government’s plea to reduce the spread of the virus by avoiding cash, Jumia is offering enticements to encourage digital payments via JumiaPay.
“I don’t have a crystal ball and no one knows what’s gonna happen,” Jumia CEO Sacha Poignonnec told a news outlet. He added that if the spread of coronavirus escalates, Jumia will offer more support. “If governments find it helpful, we’re willing to do it,” he noted.
World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director Matshidiso Moeti, M.D. said during a press conference last week that COVID-19 is starting to spread rapidly across the continent. “About 10 days ago, we had five countries affected; now we’ve got 30.”
Access to potable water and inadequate housing make typical measures to control the virus — handwashing and social distancing — difficult to carry out. Moeti said WHO is seeking solutions and partnerships that will work in Africa.
As a way to bring more smartphones to Africa, Mastercard and Samsung have teamed up to build the last-mile bridge necessary to power the technological transition. Its Pay on Demand platform launched on March 16 to provide people with a pay-as-you-go model.