COVID-19: African telecom industry provides pandemic support
Amidst the current outbreak of COVID-19, Business Chief takes a look at the recent support provided by the telecoms industry operating within Africa.
As COVID-19 continues to spread across Africa, The Orange Foundation has sent its local foundations in the MEA region protective equipment and money for essential items.
“The assistance comes in addition to contributions from the Orange Foundations and Group subsidiaries in the 17 countries whose healthcare infrastructure remains fragile in the face of the pandemic,” says Orange.
Protective kits for all countries
As part of its efforts the Orange Foundation has assembled kits containing essential items from China, sending them to the 17 countries in the next few weeks Every local foundation will receive a kit containing 30,000 masks, 30,000 pairs of gloves and 30,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, for those on the frontline and caregivers.
Across the 17 countries in Africa and the Middle East in which Orange operates will receive financial aid and equipment worth a total of US$131,533 per country.
To combat the spread of COVID-19 in South Africa, Vodacom Group has committed to donating 20,000 smartphones, 100 terabytes of data and 10 million voice call minutes to the National Department of Health. The donations are being given to those on the frontline to collect and transmit data in real-time for resource planning purposes.
“Through this initiative, Vodacom seeks to support the government's objectives to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus by flattening the curve and lowering the infection rate. Achieving this will require a massive collaborative effort and we’re delighted with Samsung Africa’s investment of 5000 smartphones into this initiative. Vodacom is willing and committed to do whatever we can to help,” comments Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group CEO.
In addition, Vodacom has partnered with Discovery to deliver a simple online healthcare platform for South Africans during the pandemic. The platform will provide easy access for all South Africans to a COVID-19 risk tool to help communities understand the personal risk and where needed to immediately schedule virtual healthcare professional consultations and receive advice.
For more information on business topics in Africa, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief EMEA.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.