The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has confused the accounts and plans of many companies, due to the negative effects of the precautionary measures put in place to combat the pandemic, including social distancing.
Many companies in the communications and information technology (CIT) sector have, however, showed sufficient flexibility and alteredtheir activities, including adding new ones,to be able to overcome the challenges of the pandemic.
Khaled Ismail, founder of the venture capital fund KI Angel, said that the pandemic is a global test and a challenge that no one expected, but companies must overcome it in order to avoid closure.
Ismail added that the companies that will show flexibility and the ability to move forward amid the new conditions caused by the coronavirus will be the ones who will be able to continue.
He believes that the coronavirus pandemic has had positive effects on several sectors, such as electronic payments (e-payments) and electronic commerce (e-commerce). There have also been sectors thathave been directlyaffected by precautionary measures, such as smart transport services and companies responsible for organising events. Others were not able to deal flexibly with the coronavirus pandemic, which has led them to face heavy losses.
Ismail believes that the coronavirus is a challenge, and start-ups must findcreative solutions and ideas to overcome the crisis, even if they are forced to change their skin. He added that this would ensure that these companies put into effect the meaning of turning the challenge into an investment opportunity.
During the past few months, several companies have added new services to their portfolio in order to compensate for the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic on their basic activities.
These include Careem, which added product delivery to its ride-hailing service; AIRFAST, which now delivers grocery and bakery; and Eventtus, which specialised in booking conferences, events and tickets, but has now turned into a virtual platform to host events.
E-commerce platform, Jumia, has also announced the launch of its new service, Jumia Food, through which it will undertake delivery of meals. The service will be provided in partnership with local restaurants, commercial markets, and large restaurant chains.
As part of its expansion in the near future, Jumia Food will place on its platform a variety of restaurants in Egypt that provide ready-made food, including grocery shops and bakeries, in addition pharmacies. The launch of the new service coincided with the celebration of World Food Day, which falls on 16 October of each year.
Haitham Essam, Executive General Manager of Careem Egypt, said that the company has decided to expand on its original service of transporting people, and has now gone into courier through Careem Express service.
The last-mile delivery market has also witnessed a significant expansion recently, due to the coronavirus pandemic, with several services launched in the field, such as Wassaly and Eshtrely by Careem.
The Wassaly service allows the transfer of things from one place to another The delivered items can be tracked until reaching target destination.
As for the Eshtrely service, it depends on the Careem driver conducting the shopping and delivery for customers.