International nonprofit economic development organization TechnoServe is partnering with the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), to host the 4th Virtual Micro Retail Stakeholder Forum on 9th December with the theme Adopting Digital Solutions to Overcome Key Micro-Retail Challenges.
Micro retailers, like other industries, have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and there is a need to build resilience in order to survive. While the crisis has created challenges for shopkeepers, it has also highlighted substantial opportunities—especially in driving digital inclusion in the informal sector—that will help businesses adapt and survive the crisis. However, there remains a great deal of work to be done to ensure the sustainable adoption of digital solutions. The forum will provide an opportunity for key stakeholders to discuss what is working and which challenges remain.
Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, Chief Financial Services Officer, Safaricom PLC, will be the keynote speaker, sharing insight into the transformative nature of digital solutions for micro-enterprises in East Africa. The panel, which will feature Wayne Hennessy-Barrett, CEO, 4G Capital; Angela Nzioki, CEO, Sokowatch Kenya; Anuj Tanna, Managing Director, Shujaaz Inc; and Karen Adie, Director of Merchant Services, Trade Depot Nigeria, will discuss strategies that micro retailers in Africa can use to ensure their businesses remain sustainable during the pandemic, with key focus areas in digital training, access to finance, access to markets, and policy gaps in enhancing digital inclusion.
The forum emerges from the Smart Duka initiative, a micro-retail development program that seeks to improve shops’ financial returns and growth. Since 2015, TechnoServe has worked with over 10,000 shops located in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire to improve their business management skills and provide links to finance and markets.