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Spotlight MEA: Virtually Buying Goods and Services in Zimbabwe

In 2017 it was estimated that there are three million people from Zimbabwe now working abroad. In terms of sending money between countries and paying remittances, there are many known difficulties. However, for loved ones back home as well as consumers buying goods and services online, a new raft of innovative solutions for the country are beginning to appear.

Sayjil Magan, the Managing Director of Malaicha.com & Hello Paisa IMAGE SOURCE PROVIDED by Richie Santosdiaz for The FinTech Times
Sayjil Magan, the Managing Director of Malaicha.com & Hello Paisa IMAGE SOURCE PROVIDED

Sayjil Magan, the Managing Director from Malaicha.com explains.

For our global audience, can you explain what the digital and fintech landscape across the African continent currently looks like? How does this alter in Zimbabwe?

Apart from the obvious examples, the digital and fintech landscape remains relatively untouched up until now. More and more fintech startups are innovating to bring unique solutions across the continent. The emergence of these solutions is shifting the mindset of Africans when it comes to exploring new ideas.

My experience in the fintech arena has shed light on the sheer enablement that fintech players such as us have brought to the man on the street. With the use of simple, easy to use technology, we at Malaicha.com have traversed borders and made it possible for Zimbabwean migrants living in South Africa to send much needed essential goods and groceries to their loved ones in Zimbabwe.  Malaicha.com is a first of its kind digital service for which its users previously relied on illegal, expensive and unreliable informal options.

How have you developed your subject matter expertise and helped to share it across Zimbabwe?

For Zimbabweans who are far from home, ensuring that their family is fed and looked-after is one of their most fundamental goals. This is often easier said than done when faced with costly solutions, the potential for damaged goods and uncertainty of whether groceries may even reach their destination. Malaicha.com has revolutionised the way Zimbabweans based in South Africa are able to send goods and groceries to their loved ones.  Malaicha.com is a data-free mobile application which allows Zimbabwean migrants living in South Africa to be able to send goods and groceries back to Zimbabwe for their loved ones. The app allows customers to shop for goods and groceries, as well as pay for the groceries in South Africa and Malaicha.com will provide a same-day collection in Zimbabwe, to the customers loved ones. Malaicha.com uses technology to provide a low-cost, simple solution to Zimbabweans problems.

Taking recent events into account, with the nationwide lockdown resulting in borders being closed across multiple countries in Africa, a large majority of Zimbabweans found themselves in dire straits when they could not send necessities home to their loved ones in Zimbabwe.  Not to mention reduced income, hyperinflated costs, scarcity of essential goods and wide-spread food shortages meant that survival necessities were more inaccessible than ever before for many in Zimbabwe. Many Zimbabweans based in South Africa looked no further than to Malaicha.com for help as it bridged the eCommerce gap between Zimbabweans and the goods, they needed access to.

What are future trends and predictions you see happening in the region? And specifically with your company?

Future trends and predictions include an increase in more African businesses moving into the digital space. Fintechs such as ourselves are coming up with unique solutions to solve unique African problems.

From a Malaicha.com perspective, we foresee ourselves expanding the reach of our offering not just in Zimbabwe but also into the rest of the African continent. We predict that we will be the continents leading e-commerce player in time to come.

Any advice or recommendations you would give to other future fintech entrepreneurs based in the Middle East & Africa (MEA) region? Particularly with respect to fintech and the wider digital sector?

Always remain customer-centric when offering products and services. Understand customer struggles and how you can provide value in the simplest form.

Author

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