Africa's tech innovators spy opportunity amid pandemic

But it’s a gamble the telecom firm appears willing to take to pull in more low-income users at a time economic, sociopolitical and cultural activities stand disrupted across the continent due to the global coronavirus pandemic. So fintech startups and others in the tech ecosystem arereappraising their services to try and cater to the economically vulnerable who are most affected — an audience that they would hope to retain once the crisis passes. Video: South Africa, with continent's highest infection rate, dreads economic impact (France24) _____________________________________________________________ More on coronavirus: ______________________________________________________________ The moves by these big firms are spawning optimism that more companies could change in the coming weeks, potentially opening the floodgates. Now, as the pandemic puts brands and people on high alert, they are trying to minimize individuals handling cash for the sake ofindividual safety — or fraud, as in the case of the South African Reserve Bank, which issued a statement after a group of scammers went around houses preying on innocent citizens undertheguise of retrieving banknotes to reduce chances of being infected with the coronavirus. African fintech companies have also been trying to capture a larger share of the unbanked population and bolster digital saving and investment cultures. E-commerce in Africa has been on the rise as internet penetration increases — 40 percent of the continent’s population is currently connected to the World Wide Web. “Our platform is primed for a time like this when physical interaction is limited,” says Chijioke Dozie, CEO and co-founder of Carbon, a digital-only lender that operates in Nigeria and Kenya.

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