TechnoServe, a nonprofit focused on eliminating global poverty through business solutions and utilizing technology in innovative ways, said digital technology will help it reach more micro-retailer in Africa, but additional support is needed.
Alice Waweru, Entrepreneurship Portfolio Lead, at TechnoServe says the micro-retail sector is 80% informal and 14,972 out of 35,773 digitally trained, have witnessed 28% average revenue increase between 2015 and 2020.
During the five year period, Waweru says through their donors, the value of pans accessed through 4G Capital hit $ 1.405,306.
4G Capital and Citi have collaborated to expand financial inclusion through the provision of working capital to support the growth of micro-enterprises in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire.
“Digitization is a key anchor for micro-retailers. It helps them access finances by using mobile to link to various financial providers,” says Alice Waweru.
According to Waweru, lessons that have been learned due to the Covid 19 pandemic, micro retailers need to be visual through the adoption of hybrid platforms to drive efficiency and growth.
“The additional support needed will help us connect (micro-retailers) to the eco-system where they can access finance, markets, governments and information,” said Waweru during TechnoServe’s’ 4th Virtual Micro Retail Stakeholder Forum themed Adopting Digital Solutions to Overcome Key Micro-Retail Challenges.
A survey conducted by TechnoServey between May and August of this year found that micro-retailers who adopted digital strategies recorded a 52 per cent increase in sales, enabling them to weather the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Given the current optimism where micro-retailers are looking online and this provides the potential for them to transform and build on digitisation of their businesses says Waweru.
To leverage and provide support for micro-retailers, they look at developing integrated digital solutions, training them in using the technology platforms, minimise the cost of digital infrastructure and scaling digital solutions to micro retailers across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Juan Carlos, Global Entrepreneurship Director, TechnoServe, emphasised that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they are in unprecedented times and need to revisit their business models due to the uncertainty. “The more entrepreneurial people we support, the more inclusive our economy becomes.”