Sunday July 26, 2020
By MANASE OTSIALO
Mr Abdirizack Hassan, the Boresha Mandera Business Development Coordinator speaks on July 24, 2020. Local NGOs under Boresha have launched a mobile phone platform to help traders in Mandera, Somalia and Ethiopia know market prices of commodities. PHOTO | MANASE OTSIALO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
The business community in Mandera County and across the border in Somalia and Ethiopia are now able to know market prices of commodities by use of mobile phones.
This has been made possible after a mobile telephone platform was developed and launched by a consortium of four non-governmental organisations based in Mandera.
The NGOs operate under Building Opportunities for Resilience in the Horn of Africa (Boresha) umbrella.
Boresha is an initiative funded by the European Union and operates in Mandera, (Kenya), Gedo (Somalia) and Dollow (Ethiopia).
“This is one of the achievements of the Boresha cross border project, a mobile information platform designed to support business operators with essential information,” said Mr Abdirizack Hassan, the Boresha Mandera Business Development Coordinator.
According to Mr Hassan, the mobile information platform will offer valuable business, weather and health related information to traders.
He said the platform was developed following a research that showed that most traders lacked information on the market prices of commodities.
“We conducted a research in the cross-border area between Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia and it revealed significant information gaps for people in business,” he said.
He said their research also showed most people sought information on financial opportunities in the region, market prices and exchange rates.
A trader with any type of mobile phone will access both health and business information free of charge just by dialling *384*55#.
NO INTERNET NEEDED
“This platform does not need internet and one can access it using any type of phone,” said Mr Hassan.
The information is shared in English, Somali and Kiswahili, which were the most preferred languages for all participants surveyed.
“Responding to the needs of businesses as well as the changing climate that we are operating in, we have built the information platform focusing on information on coronavirus, market prices, exchange rates and weather forecast,” he said.
Mandera County Director for Trade and Industrialisation Samow Hussein lauded the achievement saying it will boost the county’s platforms for sharing business information.
“This is an achievement that is welcome since it will be boosting what the county government has been doing in keeping the business community informed,” he said.
Mandera, which trades with Somalia and Ethiopia, has at least six modern markets built by the county government since 2013.