Safaricom is looking to support SMEs during the pandemic by enabling timely payments to suppliers. The telco plans to partner with Banks and FMCGs to help supply chain financing using its M-pesa distribution channels.
“We are thinking of partnering with others to support supply chain financing using our distribution infrastructure with Mpesa, particularly partnering with banks and FMCGs who use a lot of SMEs.” Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa told the UN Global Compact Academy Session.
Small and Medium enterprises play a crucial role in the Kenyan economy. 80% of the working population relies on the sector. However, the small businesses are facing significant uncertainties due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
A recent survey by the Kenyan Association of Manufacturers (KAM) showed that 8 out of 10 businesses now suffer cash constraints, hence the need for cash injections. The survey showed that 10% of small businesses do not think that they will survive the crisis. Similarly, 1 in every four manufacturers doubts their continuity post-COVID19.
Working Remotely is the New Normal
CEO Ndegwa said that Safaricom is supporting its customers’ SMEs to digitize their operations. This will help their employees to work from home. There has been increased demand for data and remote working tools as more employees work from home. The KAM survey revealed that 43% of businesses have measures in place to support remote operations.
“We are [also] thinking about supporting our customers’ SMEs through digitizing their operations so that they can enable [their employees] to work from home,” Ndegwa added.
Beyond supporting SMEs, the organization is also taking steps to enable Kenyans to support each other during the pandemic. To date, Safaricom customers have redeemed over KSh 200 million worth of Bonga points through the Bonga for Goods initiative. The company expects people to redeem points worth another KSh 200 million before the program ends.