As the spread of COVID-19 rises by over 400 cases in one day, Business Chief looks at how Vodacom is helping SMMEs within the region.
As it expects to see Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) come under extreme pressures in the coming months while the South African government puts extraordinary measures in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Vodacom will strive to increase accessibility to funding via its Vodalend organisation.
Detailing the current economic climate, Vodacom explains that the country already had already been facing a weak economy with many businesses having their resilience tested due to working with restricted budgets and limited access to credit, in addition to navigating the local and international challenges beyond their control.
“At times like these, access to funding becomes critical to the sustainability and success of a growing business,” said Vodacom in a company statement.
A recent survey highlighted that the SMME credit gap that exists in South Africa is significant, estimating to be between US$4.9bn and US$19.8bn. Many SMME companies are unable to meet strict banking requirements in order to access credit.
“We recognise the financial challenges that SMMEs face in the current economy as it relates to access to funding and the ability to receive cashless payments in an affordable way. This is why Vodacom Financial Services introduced VodaLend, a disruptive SMME business funding product that lets business owners apply online for funding and have an answer within 4 hours. It’s quick, easy and not limited to Vodacom customers,” commented Mariam Cassim, Chief Officer of Vodacom Financial Services.
To combat this, Vodacom stresses that fintech solutions are well-positioned to step in and provide funding to these sectors, especially when many will now experience cash flow challenges following COVID-19. Vodacom’s financial services are committed to unlocking economic opportunities to drive inclusive economic growth and sustainable development.
“Business owners know how to conduct their trade, produce and sell products and deliver services. However, many struggle to navigate the complex financial environment in which their businesses operate. They need assistance with financial literacy, financial planning and effective money management,” Quintin Van Vuuren, Executive Head of VodaLend at Vodacom Financial Services.
“The under-serviced small business market is full of potential and allows innovative funders, who are able to tailor business-specific solutions, to help these companies reach their full potential. Easy online applications, faster turn-around times on application approvals and the ability for the business owner to access the cash quickly, are just some of the areas in which digital funding institutions need to focus. It is also important to consider the real value-added services offered such as free legal cover with the funding,” continued Van Vuuren.
Current COVID-19 statistics within Africa
Countries with cases of COVID-19 (2,412):
Algeria (264), Angola (2), Benin (5), Burkina Faso (114), Cameroon (70), Cape Verde (3), Central African Republic (5), Chad (3), Congo (4), Côte d’Ivoire (73), Djibouti (3), DRC (48), Egypt (402), Equatorial Guinea (9), Eritrea (1), Eswatini (5), Ethiopia (12), Gabon (6), Gambia (3), Ghana (53), Guinea (4), Kenya (25), Liberia (3), Madagascar (17), Mauritius (42), Mauritania (2), Morocco (170), Mozambique (3), Namibia (6), Niger (2), Nigeria (46), Rwanda (40), Senegal (86), Seychelles (7), Somalia (1), South Africa (709), Sudan (3), Tanzania (12), Togo (20), Tunisia (114), Uganda (9), Zambia (3) and Zimbabwe (2).
Countries with deaths as a result of COVID 19 (64):
Algeria (19), Burkina Faso (4), Cameroon (1), DRC (3), Egypt (20), Gabon (1), Gambia (1), Ghana (2), Mauritius (2), Morocco (4), Nigeria (1), Sudan (1), Tunisia (3) and Zimbabwe (1).
Countries with recoveries from COVID-19 (203):
Algeria (77), Burkina Faso (5), Cameroon (2), Côte d’Ivoire (3), DRC (1), Egypt (80), Ethiopia (4), Ghana (1), Morocco (6), Nigeria (2), Senegal (8), South Africa (12), Togo (1) and Tunisia (1).
For more information on business topics in Africa, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief Africa.