COVID-19 an opportunity for Tunisian startups to rise

The world is boiling due to the Coronavirus that has put its first curse in China last December and spread madly in the world to kill over and over.

But on another side, this insane dilemma paves the way for many invents to be under light. And support humanity and medical staff to fight this micro enemy. Tunisia is the example. 

Ecommerce

Since people are confined,  many companies assisted their clients with an online shopping experience, where customers can order their products and pay on delivery or via cards. 

Jumia for instance, the famous online supplier in North Africa, has applied various protection instructions and payment solutions. To keep customers safe and to remain the delivery approach ongoing.

They put a discount on orders that have been paid via the JumiaPay, a digital payment method, to enhance cashless payment to avoid pandemic and virus spread.  

Also for the hygiene gel and sanitary essentials, Jumia has collaborated with different vendors, to keep these materials affordable and available to all customers at a fair price and fight speculation.

These practices reinforce logistic networks that secure healthy deliverables. 

To be in the context, eCommerce in its global sense is not mature enough in Tunisia as the infrastructure is not well developed.  But internal commerce has been dramatically increased during the last years.

Using simple yet traditional tools to order like Facebook and Instagram pages, phone call and payment on delivery approach.

Anyway, it seems a successful way for small businesses to work and increase revenues.  In a country where the economy is still bleeding due to the previous policies’ practices.

Delivery services

Since many grocery shops allow customers to purchase online typically in grand Tunis ( Tunis, Ariana, Ben Arous). 

It has been noticed during this quarantine, that delivery services are among the most wanted and required ones.

In this context, we would like to shed a light on INTIGO,  a Tunisian bike-taxi startup.  

Now this company has shifted its key activities to deliver goods and stuff to customers.

This activity has been frequently required in other cities as the CEO Bassem Bouguerra declared to Menabytes.

Right now the medium with customers and business partners are; the web page, Facebook or mobile contact.

But they said during the same conversation to Menabytes, that the app for goods order & delivery will be a prior consideration to launch. As the urgent need for this service is increasing.

The high demand for this type of service discloses many opportunities for logistics assistance especially during hard moments like COVID-19.

Home delivery stuff or bill payment for a particular social segment,  have become a nightmare during these conditions especially for the elderly.

Thus it is important to reconsider this field and digitize it with more severe instructions and rules to be available around all the Tunisian cities.

Entrepreneurship to serve medical sectors

During these hard days, we witnessed big synergy between all social and institutional parties to help medical staff with equipment and sanitary tools based on 3D and IT solutions. 

Among these initiatives, we have young entrepreneurs in the textile, Tahfouna & prestige.  They dedicate their effort to produce visors and face masks for medical staff.

 Students in medical and engineering schools have adapted this initiative earlier.

They amplify the number of protection materials by applying the minimum of resources under critical time;  To help the ministry of health to fight this virus.

Online medical assistance

Although this technique didn’t get its real consideration from medical authorities and the ministry of technology and communication. But it has proven its importance during the quarantine.

People call the 190 once they notice the corona symptoms and in order to not disturb medical staff, they have been consulted via phone.

The respondent asks the patient about some information concerning his case.  Then he directed him to the so-called  ”Cell of crisis” to continue supervising his situation.

Considering the privacy concerns and rapid response;  this organism has achieved a major success in dealing with patients’ requests.

This great performance was led by young volunteers who engaged to serve all requests fast and kindly.

This technique saves time and reduces pressure on the medical staff and keep the quarantine ongoing as well.

This proves that we need to work hard to implement distance-consultancy. Prepare logistic networks and infrastructure to be able to adapt and provide the alternative in all situations. 

Instead of creating alternative solutions under the pressure of people’s lives and the country’s resources and capabilities to face such hardship.

Also in the same context and under the supervision of the Ministry of health. Stop Corona, a platform that includes a questionnaire where the user answers to questions to detect either he is more likely to be infected or not.

This platform aims to restrict the number of people that might be a COVID-19 case. And that helps the authorities to be ready for that.

IT engineering to detect Virus 

Another initiative was developed by young engineers. A web-based platform that scans lung X-rays and detects whether the patient is likely to be suffering from the virus or not. 

“The more images we upload to the platform, the more exact and reliable it becomes,” said   Mustapha Hamdi, an academic and one of the platform’s developers to AFP

It is still in the experimental stage to prove efficiency, but it will propose a new concept to deal with epidemic situations like coronavirus by relying on the tech industry.

This can tell us a lot about the ability of technology to assist medicines and replace medical institutions in the region where medical support is limited. 

E-learning

Maybe this is the farthest field from technology, However,  during the quarantine phase, many parties including students ask for online learning to not miss lessons and keep the scholar year in-going.

But others said that the unequal opportunities btw the learners, to in-reach online courses,  make this solution not valid for the learners.

Why because the learning field is not well equipped and not well adapted to technology as expected to be. that’s why it has become hard to manage online platforms for students due to the poor ground and network in this sector.

These limitations can rise many opportunities for online learning.  Which allow students to get the needed subjects and allow other unemployed youth to find job easily.

But this needs big intention from authorities and powerful instructions to protect all rights

Wrapup

We cannot deny that the Coronavirus harms countries’ social rhythm and economic stability. But observing such inventions in Tunisia can make us think about this crisis as an incentive and a pusher to do things that couldn’t be done during peace-time. 😉 see you guys

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