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Kwara launches free Pronto digital banking platform for SACCOs

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Kwara, a digital banking platform in Kenya has today launched “Kwara Pronto” a digital banking software for SACCOs at risk during the Coronavirus pandemic. The platform will allow SACCOs to continue business operations and serve their customers amid the social distancing measures for the next three months.

Due to government-enforced restrictions on movement and social distancing measures during COVID-19, SACCOs are unable to operate at full capacity. As a result, members face challenges applying for loans, transacting and accessing their funds.

The new Pronto product will enable both BOSA and FOSA SACCOs to quickly and easily go digital. They simply need to provide minimum mandatory KYC requirements. And a snapshot of financial data, all of which are protected under NDA. Staff can work remotely, process the high volume of incoming loan requests quickly, disburse funds, and easily get in touch with members. Members, in turn, can begin to transact digitally and view their finances and loan eligibility in real-time. Eligible SACCOs will also get a free website to enhance their digital presence.

Kwara is offering access to an essential version of its core digital banking platform. Which will enable SACCOs who qualify to bring their operations online, at no cost, for the next 3 months. This is an effort to enable SACCOs and their members to keep transacting while observing social distancing.

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“The COVID-19 crisis will inevitably disproportionately impact the financially vulnerable, who rely heavily on SACCOs for access to fair loans and a safety net when they need it,” said Kwara CEO Cynthia Wandia. “Traditionally, SACCOs rely on face to face interaction to serve their customers. Today they are facing significant challenges trying to operate in this new environment. Our platform is designed to kickstart their digital transformation. We are offering an essential version of our platform for free.  SACCOs can continue serving the members that need them and get through these difficult times.”

“The Kwara core banking platform is stable and secure, with incredible dedication and commitment in providing support to its clients. I commend them in making an effort to focus on helping SACCOs keep issuing loans through this time,” said Kenya Bankers SACCO Chief Information Officer Steve Biko, of the company’s clients.

Kwara serves more than 27,000 SACCO members via SACCOs. Including Kenya Bankers Sacco Ltd in Kenya and has over Ksh 8bn in assets under management on its platform.

 


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Beginners Guide to Buying a Face Mask

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As CDC advised Americans last month to wear face masks while in public to minimize the spread of Coronavirus pandemic, from shopping malls to air flights are requiring people to wear face masks to stay safe and nokeep others safe.

Almost all countries and states around the glove also require citizens to must wear a mask when they leave home for shopping or for office during the relaxation hours. 

In this time where face mask is becoming an integral part of daily life, many clothing brands and retailers are creating and selling face masks made with fabric. But do you really need a face mask?

Should you get a face mask?

The CDC has advised people to cover their faces with a mask when they are out in public spaces like a shopping center, grocery store, and pharmacies where it could be hard to maintain proper social distance. Here experts also agree that fabric made face masks don’t replace the need for washing hands with soap & social distance and they alone cannot help you prevent the spread of this deadly pandemic. Most of the masks made with cloth/fabric can work well to help prevent the spread of droplets that the infected person is producing. In this way, a cloth face mask can help reduce the chances of infecting others if you are sick. Moreover, it will not fully protect a wearer from contracting the virus from an infected person in front of you.

If you are also about to buy face mask from an online store or a local store in your town, here we have some expert tips and beginners guide to buying a face mask that you should go through to make sure you have spent your money on a good and protective mask.

Consider the fabric

Experts say that some fabric can easily filter the air pollutants and virus particles than others. It is simple and clear that the thicker and dense fabric can do a great job than thinner and loosely woven fabric. For instance, Flannel material could be a good option to make a good face mask as it is tightly weaved than other kinds of fabrics. Tea towels, cotton blend fabrics, and antimicrobial pillowcases were found more effective at filtering the particles than t-shirt fabric, scarf, or silk. There are many companies like SewCal Masks that are making face masks with comfortable, washable, and tightly knitted quality fabrics to provide you with better protection against pollutants and other injurious particles in the air. However, these masks are not claimed to be or substitute for medical or surgical masks, and a proper mask use and handwashing hygiene must be followed by the users.

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Layer it up

Multiple layers of the fabric offer better protection than one. More fabric layers mean the lower chances of particles and viruses to pass through your mask. Some of the companies use two layers of the fabric to increase the effectiveness of their masks. Many of them also leave one side of the mask unstitched as a pocket for an additional filter. However, more fabric layers can cause breathability issues. So always choose a mask with two layers to make sure the mask you are about to buy is protective and comfortable as well.

Make Sure it is Fit and Comfortable

A face mask should fully cover your mouth and nose to make sure no particles and viruses reach your mouth that can cause respiratory issues. A good mask fit snugly on your face and should not create irritation or breathing issues. If there are some gaps between the mask and your face, the particles can easily pass through to infect you. Make sure a mask is fit and comfortable against your face. A mask made with stretchy fabric can easily fit on different face sizes. First, you find out the that fits you best and then go for your favourite color. Never pick a mask that is in your favourite color but not fit your face. If you prefer an online store to get masks delivered to your doorstep, you should ask them for a complete product description to make sure the mask fits to your needs like multiple layers, made with tightly woven fabric, and washable etc.

In this time of global emergency, consumers should stick with face masks made of fabric to leave medical masks for professional health workers and doctors. Moreover, medical masks are the right fit for professionals due to many reasons. 


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Facebook and PayPal invest in Southeast Asian ride-hailing startup Gojek

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Facebook and PayPal have made investments in Gojek,  a  Southeast Asian ride-hailing startup also offering food delivery and mobile payments.

Facebook and Paypal will be participating in the ongoing Series F financing round to raise to over $3 billion. However, the two companies did not disclose the amount of investment in the project.

As of March 2020, Gojek disclosed it had raised $1.2 billion to employees and was valued at about $10 billion. The company also confirmed it has amassed over 170 million users in Southeast Asia.

Facebook, for which it is the first investment in an Indonesia-based firm, and PayPal  Joins Google and Tencent among other technology giants that have backed up Gojek in the funding

Backing Gojek unlocks a similar opportunity: helping millions of small businesses while finding a business model for WhatsApp. The company will work with “indispensable” Gojek to “bring millions of small businesses and the customers they serve into the largest digital economy in Southeast Asia” Said Matt Idema, chief operating officer at WhatsApp.

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“The majority of small businesses in Indonesia rely on cash to operate due to the country’s large unbanked population. Digital payments are safer than cash, both for businesses and customers. Digital payments help more people participate in the economy and give businesses access to credit which is crucial for business growth,” he added.

This investment will support Facebook and Gojek’s shared goal of empowering businesses and driving financial inclusion across the archipelago. WhatsApp helps small businesses communicate with customers and make sales. And together with Gojek, we believe we can bring millions of people into Indonesia’s growing digital economy.

“This new relationship is another positive step in our journey towards becoming the worldwide payments partner of choice, and helping to fuel global commerce by connecting the world’s leading marketplaces and payment networks,” PayPal said in a statement.

Additionally, the commercial partnership will enable the global payments giant to significantly grow its scope and scale in Southeast Asia.

 


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Brand.KE appoints Dr. Wilfred Marube as Chief Executive Officer

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Kenya Export promotion and Branding Agency (Brand.KE) has appointed Public Relations Expert Dr. Wifred Marube as CEO of the company for three years.

Dr. Marube takes over from former CEO Peter Biwott, whose term lapsed in early April, to head the more than 100 staff members at the Agency from the two merged institutions.

Brand.KE is a  merger between the then country’s marketing agency Brand Kenya Board and Export Promotion Council (EPC).

The new agency strives to be an integrated one-stop-shop for all exports promotion and country branding initiatives in the country.

Dr. Marube is a practitioner and researcher in the field of communication management. Who has made a tremendous contribution to the Public Relations Industry. Prior to his appointment, He has served in various capacities to advance excellence in Public Relations and is the current serving President of Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK).

Also, he is a  member of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management Board serving as the Delegate-at-Large for Africa.

Speaking during the official unveiling ceremony at the Agency’s offices, the Chairman of the Board Mr. Jas Bedi thanked the Board for picking Dr. Marube for the top job saying his vast experience in communication management is what the Agency needs most.

He added, “As a board, we are confident that Dr. Marube will steer the Agency’s mandate and the country to greatness,”

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Marube pledged his commitment to work closely with management and board to transform Kenya into a top global brand.

“I am happy to join this team that is passionate about the country. Since we are living in unprecedented times with Covid-19 biting into the economy, we will have to re-align our focus and work with a sense of urgency to promote Kenyan exports innovatively and bring back this country to its glory before Covid-19,” he added.

As he takes up the new job, his assignment will be to harmonize the internal culture of the Agency that has been in existence for less than one year comprising of staff from two different institutions.


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