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Two countries weaponizing mobile money to fight COVID-19

Ngeithi cia rũcinĩ, That's 'good morning' in KikuyuPastor Matthew Ashimolowo was recently roasted on
Two countries weaponizing mobile money to fight COVID-19
By get.Africa Weekly • Issue #12 • View online
Ngeithi cia rũcinĩ,
That’s ‘good morning’ in Kikuyu
Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo was recently roasted on the internet after a strange video of him started circulating.
Our world is going through a phase not dissimilar to the biblical end times, that’s why it seemed like a bad case of misplaced priorities when the pastor was aloofly directing his congregants on how to pay their tithes and offerings online.
COVID-19 presents us all with a new reality where contact is forbidden, meaning that people are having to make behavioral changes when completing payments — yes, even tithes. 
Though based in the UK, Matthew has at least a dozen church branches spread across Africa. And cash and contact card payments are pervasive around the continent. So maybe, just maybe, the man of the cloth was onto something.
To solve this weak link in Africa’s COVID-19 reduction chain, stakeholders are looking increasingly to mobile money; the plan is to significantly reduce the need for physical currency exchange and contact card payments. 
In Kenya, Safaricom is waiving fees on M-Pesa person-to-person (P2P) transactions under Ksh 1,000 (around $10) for the next 90 days. Airtel is going one better and waiving fees for all transactions. 
In Ghana, the central bank has directed mobile money providers to waive fees on transactions of GH₵100 (around $18) and below, it also placed restrictions on cash withdrawals from mobile-wallets. 
With around 60% and 45% adoption rates respectively, Kenya and Ghana are in prime position to use mobile money to fight the highly contagious disease. Contrast that with COVID-19’s African epicenter, South Africa, where, up until now, mobile money solutions have been dead on arrival.  
In the COVID-19 postmortem, it would be interesting to see if these measures had any effect on the rate of spread in Kenya and Ghana vis-à-vis South Africa. By that time, churches like Matthew’s should be free to dust their offering bags once again.

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