The Global cloud communication platform, Infobip, has delivered WhatsApp for business API to Arifu-SOMO to aid entrepreneurship training.
However, the Kenyan based startups, Arifu and SOMO, partnered earlier in the year.
Their union involves SOMO’s content being delivered on Arifu’s platform.
Arifu has been providing digital educational contents to low income and hard to reach societies.
While SOMO, an accelerator, supports entrepreneurs in low-income societies.
Furthermore, the union has sponsored training in areas of agriculture practices, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and it is gradually expanding to insurance.
Apparently, the training has reached over 1.5 million people across six African countries, including Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Zambia.
Why not SMS?
Speaking on the partnership, Mandeep Birdi, Chief Commercial Officer at Arifu said that the company had been using SMS to get its contents to trainees over the years.
However, with the growth in mobile and data usages in the continent, Arifu is looking into expanding its digital channels.
Marko Reis, Regional Manager for East Africa at Infobip said:
“It has been a great pleasure to work with Arifu-SOMO on this project.
“The partnership has a large footprint in Africa.
“The move from SMS to WhatsApp will yield more positive results and higher adoption due to the rich media content the platform enables.
“We are expecting the WhatsApp API solution to empower more disadvantaged people.
“And give rise to a new spirit of entrepreneurship on the continent.”
The new medium
Mandeep said that the expansion from SMS to platforms like Telegram, Facebook, and eventually, WhatsApp is a good decision.
He added that working with a communication specialist like Infobip, will assist them with the WhatsApp Business API solution.
He said that with Infobip’s presence in Kenya, it was a very suitable decision to partner with the company.
According to Mandeep, Infobip’s global presence made it one of their choices.
“One of the main reasons we are turning to rich media channels is that we can add graphic images and animated videos to enhance the learning journey beyond text-based messaging.
“Aside from WhatsApp Business API, we also have some other services below the WhatsApp layer, and will look into additional platforms that Infobip can offer to enhance what we have on the WhatsApp,” Mandeep said.
CEO and founder of SOMO, Amelia Hopkins, explained that WhatsApp has an expanding usage in Africa.
Countries like Nigeria and Kenya see a 70% penetration rate by smartphone owners.
Also, as a part of adopting omnichannel strategies, businesses in the continent see a need for WhatsApp Business API.
The COVID-19 factor
Besides, Amelia added that with the COVID-19 pandemic, digital transformation accelerated over the past six months.
This, she said, resulted in the adoption of smartphones in Africa.
“A lot of our training used to be done in person.
“But COVID-19 has forced us to transition many of our programmes to digital channels.
“The fact that people have had to adopt smart devices during this period has driven our transition to a large extent.”
Going further, she said that providing learning contents over social media apps is the best option rather than SMS or receiving it online.
Amelia added, “Pulling up a web browser and streaming or downloading video content uses a lot of data and storage.
“So being able to access this material through WhatsApp makes it a lot more accessible to a lot more people.”