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COVID-19 prompts Tafari to launch finance, e-commerce platform

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Dr Thabo Lehlokoe, executive chairman of Tafari Capital.
Dr Thabo Lehlokoe, executive chairman of Tafari Capital.

As COVID-19 continues to spread, there is a growing push to accelerate e-commerce and adoption of digital financial services, says Tafari Capital, a black-owned fintech firm, which this week launched a digital finance and e-commerce platform.

With social distancing during the COVID-19-induced lockdown, there has been a massive individual shift from procuring daily necessities offline to using online, and digital payments are now playing an increasingly important role as they facilitate e-commerce transactions and remittances.

The start-up says its newly-launched Tafari App offers free personal and business accounts that allow users to build an online store where they can sell their products and services.

The fintech start-up says due to the growing effects of the deadly virus, it had to expedite its product development to launch the platform, giving South African businesses an opportunity to transition to online.

The app also offers remittance services for local and international transactions.

“With the limitations imposed by the national lockdown in South Africa, companies have limited access to their customers and this is affecting their businesses negatively. The platform will enable companies to access a broader customer base,” explains Dr Thabo Lehlokoe, executive chairman of Tafari Capital.

The company says its digital platform will enable small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) and individuals to sell products and services to consumers, while being able to accept payments through its bank-level secure feature – “Tafari Pay”.

“The Tafari App will also function as a digital mall, where consumers will be able to purchase anything from household appliances to services such as electricity and mobile data and airtime,” it says.

Additionally, the start-up says the Tafari App allows users to open smart accounts with full transactional functionality (cheque, savings or sharia-compliant accounts) for free.

“These accounts can have the ability to transact in multiple currencies. Tafari Pay, with its advanced functionalities, such as ‘Scan to Pay’ using QR codes and ‘Please Pay Me’, will provide users with the ability to accept card payments without the use of a point-of-sale device.”

Further, Lehlokoe says the platform will help South Africa (and later, the African continent as a whole) to address the issue of financial inclusion by providing an easy way for both SMMEs and individuals to enter the formal financial services sector.

According to the company, through the deployment of big data analytics and artificial intelligence, the Tafari App will be able to generate alternative risk assessment tools from users’ on-platform behaviour. This functionality, it says, will create differentiated access to credit via the credit mall in the Tafari App.

“For the first time, customers will have access to personal and business transactional accounts linked to a free digital marketplace, where they can easily and securely buy and sell goods and services from fellow users, while creating a digital record that allows for easy access to credit,” says Lehlokoe.

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