Currently, only 1% of informal retailers in South Africa accept electronic payments, and 56% do not have access to a bank account. These micro and small enterprises (MSEs) – also known as spaza shops – also find margins squeezed as they lack the relationships with manufacturers and wholesalers that enable many larger shops to enjoy bulk discounts, and are forced to travel to market to purchase stock.
In partnership with J.P. Morgan, BFA Global launched a program designed to improve the livelihoods and resilience of spaza shop owners in South Africa’s townships, following the COVID-19 crisis. BFA Global experts will support three South African fintech companies with innovation pilots over the next nine months – including A2Pay, Yebo Fresh and Vuleka – focusing on solutions across the value chain, including digital ordering, delivery of stock, digital stock management, wholesale linkages and access to appropriate financial solutions, such as credit to refill stock, that are relevant and affordable for spaza owners.
The companies will each receive grant capital, venture building support and connections with partners and corporate innovators who can help them scale their solutions to more spaza shops.