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The rise of digital economy in COVID-19 era

By David Njaaga | March 31st 2020
Evans Okech, head of strategy and innovation at Kibo Capital Group.

Since the outbreak of coronavirus, commonly referred to as Covid-19, in Wuhan, China in December, the world has focused on little else. 

The pandemic has thrust the digital economy to the fore as the global population observes social distancing to curb the spread of the virus, which has greatly impacted conventional ways of doing business.

Financial Standard spoke to Evans Okech, head of strategy and innovation at tech firm Kibo Capital Group to shed more light on this new phenomenon and much more.

How has Covid-19 changed the game plan for businesses in the region?

Although we are faced with a global pandemic that is threatening our existence, there is an opportunity to rethink the whole model of how we do business, certainly around technology, how we make payments and issue receipts.

How, in your opinion, can the use of e-receipts aid to curb the spread of coronavirus?

We run a solution called PaymentGate that generates digital, secure receipts that can be accessed through a link that is sent to a client’s phone after making a purchase.

With the government’s advisory to embrace cashless transactions and technologies that avoid physical contacts, the solution is timely.

The receipts are disbursed electronically hence no physical exchanges of papers, and this ensures that social distancing is adhered to. You can get it wherever you are even while working from home.

How is the solution executed?

When one pays for a service or good, they receive a message with a link which when clicked, gives an instant branded e-receipt that is tamper-proof, showing the names, amount of the good/service purchased.

Are there specific industries that you target or it can be used across the board?

E-receipts are now vital for many businesses like supermarkets and others that require one to see a receipt and keep track of their purchases.

How important is this kind of technology for businesses during these challenging times of the pandemic?

Though the solution mostly targets businesses for both the seller and the buyer, an automated reconciliation happens in that one will never lose the records of their transaction just in case they would want to raise an issue or maybe return a purchase.

This is done at no extra cost. For the seller, it is an electronic clerk. Businesses are also guaranteed to save on their stationery costs as the solution removes the necessity for physical printouts.

This also means that one doesn’t need boxes and safes and big rooms to keep the receipts. It is also eco-friendly.

The clincher is this: one can advertise on the receipts to the millions of people using this service as the receipts come with advertising space for one’s business. Our other innovation Tsenda allows users to buy airtime and electricity tokens electronically.

What is your parting shot?

Coronavirus is putting a strain on governments globally. Economies are adversely affected, with key sectors under serious threats of being phased out. There are fears that the virus will leave many desolate and bankrupt.

There is a need for businesses and companies to embrace innovations that discourage physical exchanges and making sure that social distancing is achieved as we all make efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus.  

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