Digitization of Africa’s Transport Sector As Businesses Experience Post-COVID Recovery
Digitizing the transport sector has become inevitable. As the different countries adopted different measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, one of the first sectors to be hit hard was the transport sector as the movement of goods and people came to a standstill.
We are seeing the tide turning with the availability of vaccines and the roads and air travel opens up more and more daily. However, businesses operating in the transport sector are having to relook at their operations, especially the need to digitize their payments. The universal quest for leveraging innovative solutions to accomplish customer satisfaction is typified by operators in the transportation industry who are turning to technology to alleviate the many pain points that affect their interactions with their customer base.
Because of the increasing mobile and internet penetration in Africa, consumers have a greater desire for on-the-go payment methods that put all transactional solutions at their fingertips. The majority of travelers now know that purchasing tickets online is not only more convenient but also far more affordable than buying over the counter. Regardless, a number of passengers still endure the stress of physical purchases and those who want to pay online still have trouble paying for tickets digitally. However, most businesses in the transport sector cannot fulfill their customers’ digital payments needs. Because of ancillary service fragmentation in the sector, most businesses today manage multiple Payment Service Providers (PSPs) who power multiple platforms.
Incidentally, PSPs such as Cellulant have been investing in building infrastructure that will help to alleviate travel companies’ struggles and improve the customer experience through an integrated payment system that simplifies the payment process. Five years ago, Kenya Airways partnered with Cellulant to offer a variety of mobile and bank payment options to its online booking customers. This was a first-of-its-kind payment solution that has now opened doors to digitization for the entire transport sector.
In Nigeria, Cellulant is deepening their digital payments platforms to cater to more than airlines to all businesses in the transport sector. Truck and bus drivers in Nigeria are using Cellulant’s technology – Tingg Proximity Pay (In store payments) – in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, simplify payments between drivers and passengers, as well as assist transport and travel agencies in tracking and collecting revenue, tax, etc. to name a few examples.
According to Sike Bamisebi, Chief Country Officer, Cellulant Nigeria, “Digitizing the entire transport sector is inevitable. In Africa, and reflected in Nigeria, there is a rise in uptake in digitization for Rail and Air travel, but Road remains the major means of transportation of many, accounting for over 60% of commuters yearly. We have found that this is a great opportunity for us to digitize in Nigeria and expand our digital payments to all businesses and truly make an impact in delivering significant economic value in the country.”
In Nigeria, businesses such as GIG and Chisco Transport have begun using Tingg, Cellulant’s Digital payments platform. Although there is an untapped impact for both governments, businesses and end users, technology only accounts for 30% in the implementation of digital systems.
“We need to work closely with governments, regulators and businesses to create an ecosystem that removes all of the non-technological barriers so that we can truly transform and gain from the sector. We have the opportunity to rapidly expand the ecosystem of Nigeria, and consequently, Africa’s developing and globally exposed digital natives with an integrated yet simplified payment system,’’ Sike adds.
Transportation is an essential part of human activity, and in many ways forms the basis of all socio-economic interactions. Indeed, no two locations will interact effectively without a viable means of movement. In many developing countries, inadequate transport facilities are often the norm rather than the exception. Thus, a good transport system is essential to support economic growth and development.