by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – DESPITE their significant contribution to employment and wealth creation, millions of small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) in Africa are struggling to access the right markets for their products and services.
In realisation of this, a black-owned financial technology start-up has launched a fully integrated digital finance and e-commerce platform.
The Tafari app, developed by Tafari Capital, allows users to build an online store where they can sell their offerings.
The app will also offer remittance services for both local and international transactions.
Tafari will enable SMMEs and individuals to sell products and services to consumers while being able to accept payments through its bank-level secure feature –Tafari Pay.
It will also function as a Digital Mall, where consumers will be able to purchase products and services such as electricity, mobile data and airtime.
The launch of Tafari comes as businesses have been moving their operations onto digital platforms for the past 20 years.
According to company executives, the effects of the recent outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) have accelerated the need for companies of all sizes to look at digital platforms not just as alternatives, but as imperatives.
Dr Thabo Lehlokoe, Executive Chairman of Tafari Capital, said with the limitations imposed by the national lockdown in South Africa, companies had limited access to their customers.
This, he said, was affecting their businesses negatively.
“The platform will enable companies to access a broader customer base,” Lehlokoe explained.
Lehlokoe added the app would help South Africa, and at a later stage the continent, to address the issue of financial inclusion by providing an easy way for SMME’s and individuals to enter the formal financial services sector.
According to recent World Bank research, 77 percent of all jobs in Africa are created by SMMEs, accounting for almost 50 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) states that there are 81 million SMME’s in Sub-Saharan Africa with a credit need of US$132 billion.
– CAJ News