Photograph — Start Magazine

As part of social distance measures to contain the effects and spread of the coronavirus on the nation’s economy, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has launched an online directory for locally manufactured goods to help the citizens shop online. This is aimed at enhancing supplies and ensuring trade transactions continue uninterrupted in the wake of the coronavirus scourge.

The initiative allows individuals and retail buyers to transact from their prospective homes while they pay via cashless platforms for orders that will be directly delivered to homes and shops. “We are forestalling disruptions in the market and the information provided is for readily available products and services in the manufacturing sector,” said chief executive Phyllis Wakiaga.

It will be recalled that the country’s largest network operator, Safaricom recently scrapped fees for mobile money transactions below 1,000 shillings ($10) in order to encourage cashless payments. According to Kenya Central Bank, the decision was to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus by handling banknotes, which will also reduce the use of cash in the economy over the medium term. Other measures the country has put in place include the closure of schools and sweeping travel restrictions.

The initiative by the manufacturing sector would make sure that consumers are aware of the products available during this difficult time. Also, small and medium enterprises can use the portal to source raw materials and intermediate goods from local suppliers. Wakiaga added that the portal contains robust information for customers, investors, partners, and the media.

“The public can explore the website and sign up for direct e-mails from the platform that will notify them on consumer news and new products by our members,” she said.

More so,  the development is meant to disrupt emerging trends where sellers of different products are taking advantage and hiking the prices of commodities in the market. This would allow the manufacturers to have direct access to consumers who can now go ahead and order goods directly at much lower prices via e-commerce platforms of different companies.

The measures put in place by the Kenyan government represent the ability to use digital technologies as a lever to influence social distancing and online transactions in an infectious health crisis.

By Ahmed Iyanda.

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