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How Nigerian online connection hub Workjeje helps with access to quality service providers

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A Nigerian online connection hub, Workjeje, has revealed how it is connecting individuals and corporate bodies to quality service providers in their vicinity, while catering to urban dwellers that prioritise quality and convenience in the services they seek.

The startup which was founded in 2021 by the trio of Fortune Nwankwo, Collins Onyebuchi and Ejike Anthony, who were students at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, has evolved into one of the most sought after hub in major cities in the country.

According to Nwankwo, Workjeje, unlike other competitors in the Nigerian market, focuses on quantity of artisans with a strong focus on quality.

“It was really hard to get service providers, let alone reliable ones. They were so unserious, they’d tell you they would come in the afternoon and show up four days later, and worst of all might deliver mediocre services,” Nwankwo said in an interview.

“Collins called me one day into his house to share his proposed solution to me, so I called my friend Wisdom – who is a programmer – to build it, and that was how Workjeje started.

“We had customers asking if the artisans were pre-vetted, which of course is a pain point for them, especially for women who would love to feel safe when a stranger is in their home.

“We pre-vet our artisans by onboarding them ourselves, and still monitor their contracts and ratings to maintain optimum quality.

“Customer feedback has been really important to us. At the test phase, some customers believed our vetting process was not very thorough, and some artisans did not look the part.

“We listened, we churned a lot of unserious artisans, we made sure we vetted the artisans ourselves, and we prioritised service companies because they have more to lose,” he added.

Workjeje is currently operating in Abuja and Enugu as test markets, and is taking its growth plan seriously and slowly, he stated.

“We were funded twice by friends – first at the building stage and the second at the marketing phase.

“Getting 10 successful transactions was a major booster for us even though we were still in the testing phase. It showed us people actually were ready to pay for the convenience we provide. Right now we have processed over 70 transactions.”

Recently, Workjeje completed a new feature that its artisans had been asking for – an escrow service, primarily designed for delivery services to protect themselves against unpaid bills.

On how the platform makes money for survival, Nwankwo said:

“The startup collects between five and 10 per cent from its artisans as fees, depending on its agreement with them, Workjeje also plans to incorporate advertisements on its platform in the near future.

“We plan on expanding to major states and cities across Nigeria, and in time Africa to limit the macro influence on our business.”

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Kenya’s Fidelity Shield Insurance launches digital health coverage product ‘My Afya Shield’

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Kenya’s Fidelity Shield Insurance has launched a new digital health coverage scheme known as
‘My Afya Shield’ which is designed to transform healthcare access in the country.

The new product, according to Richard Marisin, Managing Director of Fidelity Shield Insurance, is an initiative that “reinforces Fidelity’s commitment to prioritizing preventive healthcare and enhancing wellness among its members.”

Marisin noted that “My Afya Shield” offers an extensive range of benefits, including access to treatments, vaccines, counseling services, mental wellness support, rehabilitation services, and personalized wellness programs.

“Notably, it includes coverage for alcohol and drug abuse rehabilitation as a standard feature, along with regular health check-ups.

“Underwritten by Fidelity Shield Insurance, My Afya Shield is accessible through a digital platform that seamlessly connects Fidelity members with a nationwide network of healthcare providers.

“Users of My Afya Shield can initiate treatments from the user-friendly digital interface, monitor benefits and limits in real-time, and easily locate and access care at healthcare providers.

“They also have the flexibility to add family members as dependents. The platform further facilitates efficient claims processing and timely payments to healthcare providers, improving the overall healthcare experience.

“We are happy to introduce My Afya Shield as a health coverage product designed to address the evolving needs of our members. This launch solidifies our commitment to delivering comprehensive and technology-driven solutions for healthcare access,” Marisin said.

He added that “My Afya Shield” leverages digital technology, allowing customers to conveniently apply for services online and minus the requirement for paper forms.

“My Afya Shield will gain rapid uptake allowing millions of Kenyans to gain comprehensive health coverage, including traditionally uninsured benefits like vaccinations, mental health, counseling, and rehabilitation services,” he added.

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IFC partners SA health-tech group Lenmed Hospital to expand quality healthcare services in Africa

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The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has entered into a partnership with South African health-tech startup, Lenmed Hospital Group, aimed at increasing access to quality healthcare, especially in underserved communities in South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, and Mozambique.

Under the terms of the partnership, IFC will provide Lenmed with an initial investment sum of R200 million senior loan to help help the company expand its healthcare services over the next four years through the acquisition of new facilities, the purchase of medical equipment, and by hiring and training additional medical staff.

Lenmed on its part, will also expand the number of beds in its hospital portfolio from 2,318 to almost 3,000.

Amil Devchand, Lenmed’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said the IFC’s loan is part of a larger, syndicated loan package with three other South African lenders, Rand Merchant Bank, Ashburton Asset Managers, and ABSA Bank, which runs into a total of R2.5 billion.

“The combined financing will also support Lenmed’s plans to expand into other African countries and help meet the company’s refinancing and working capital requirements,” said Devchand.

“In addition to financing, IFC will also help Lenmed improve its environmental and social standards and ensure sustainability across its operations.

“We are extremely excited to have concluded this significant debt package with IFC and our other funding partners, which underscores the confidence in both our Group and the work that we do.

“This additional capital will allow us to continue driving towards achieving our ambitious growth strategy while, at the same time, fulfilling our core purpose of creating healthier and more prosperous communities.”

Cláudia Conceição, IFC’s Regional Director for Southern Africa who also spoke on the partnership, said:

“Our investment in Lenmed will increase access to quality healthcare in South Africa and in other African countries, enabling more people to access the services they need.

“IFC complements public healthcare efforts by leveraging private sector funding and expertise to increase access and meet growing demand for services.”

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