Market women are still digitally excluded

People purchase food items at Nakasero Market. PHOTO BY ERIC DOMINIC BUKENYA

What you need to know:

  • With the smartphones, the market women have much more choices to use the gadget for than just making calls or receiving them or even just sending messages.

The high cost of a  smartphone among other factors is still excluding women from the digital era.

Speaking at the Digital Impact Awards Africa panel discussion, women representatives in different markets around Kampala Capital City Authority such as Bugolobi, Kalerwe, Mpererwe, Kitintale and Wandegeya, all pointed at exorbitant costs of mobile phones as a leading hinderance stopping women in the informal sector, from owning a smartphone.               

With the smartphones, the market women have much more choices to use the gadget for than just making calls or receiving them or even just sending messages.

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and its resultant containment measures is taking a toll on women-led businesses, yet with digitally enbaled devices, there produces would not be going to waste.

According to Aisha Nanono, who represented Bugolobi market women, the situation has been worsened by the untimely transfer payment after making supply, high costs of borrowing in the face of diminishing capital due to Covid-19 induced shocks.  

 “Women in the markets have to use e-commerce, considering that they were badly hit by Covid-19,” the founder and author of Ideation Corner, Ms Damali Ssali, noted in an interview. 

To solve this , Ms Ssali believes women in businesss should harness technology to remain in business. Telecom companies and mobile network providers  can avail them with affordable phones on credit.  With these phones, they can then access credit and other financial products by telecoms.

Anybody sending or withdrawing monies has encountered the high cost of money transfer. According to the managing director of Card Pesa, Mr Nelson Kituuka,“Government should introduce legislations that loop in people at the bottom of the pyramid,” he said. 

For example, government can build a system where all industry players are asked to plug in, given that it will reduce the cost of transfers that are currently skyrocketing.

Explaining the cost factor, the MTN head of payment, Mr Brian Wamatu, said it is associated with cost of acquisition of the system or the infrastructure.

But it can be brought down if industry players collaborate than compete against one another. 

COST OF MONEY TRANSFER        

Anybody sending or withdrawing money has encountered the high cost of money transfer.

According to the managing director of Card Pesa, Mr Nelson Kituuka,“Government should introduce legislations that loop in people at the bottom of the pyramid." 

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