Traders in Uganda are switching to cashless payment in efforts to protect themselves and their clients from potentially contracting COVID-19.
The east African country is seeing an upsurge in consumer numbers enlisting on online platforms as the fight against the pandemic continues.
The move to cashless payments not only helps keep the virus at bay, but also helps traders tap into new opportunities in the digital marketplace.
In a span of two years, Kikuubo Online, a digital wholesale business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) platform, has recorded an increase in the number of users from 7,000 to about 15,000.
“We have noticed that, because of the pandemic which in a way encourages social distancing, we saw many people joining our platform to stock up,” said Paul Muyoba, the Marketing Manager at Kikuubo Online.
The platform deals in a wide range of goods such as food, beverages, electronics, cosmetics and much more.
Digital analysts say Uganda has a huge potential to accelerate e-commerce trading.
“E-commerce is the way to go, people have to save time but at the same time reduce costs of operations,” said Joseph Owino, a Digital Analyst.
Owino however bemoaned high internet costs in the country, which he says may discourage shoppers from fully utilizing the online trading platforms.
Ugandan lawmakers recently passed a bill introducing a 12% tax on internet data. But with the increase in online transactions occasioned by the need to keep safe from the coronavirus, the analysts hope the government can review the tax laws to ease the cost of doing business online.
By Saturday 11 September, Uganda had reported 121,166 COVID-19 infections with 3,085 fatalities.
The government has introduced various measures to contain the virus, including the mandatory wearing of face coverings.
A mass vaccination exercise is also underway. More than 1.47 million doses of the vaccines have been administered so far.