Zeepay Ghana has reported that even though they targeted a 150% growth in transaction volumes in 2020, they realized an extra 112% on that growth target due to COVID-19.
CEO of the company, Andrew Takyi-Appiah told TechGh24 in an exclusive interview “We have scaled significantly – we have grown 262% even though we targeted to grow by 150% in 2020.”
He said Covid-19 has had its pluses, particularly for businesses in the digital space, adding that, for Zeepay, the growth has been phenomenal.
Touching on what the growth factors were, he noted that during the Covid-19 lockdown period, essential workers were still moving around and working so they still made payments and transferred money all over the country.
“We did help them and we grew,” he said.
The Zeepay boss however noted that generally, local funds dried up because all of what he described as the “three economies” of every developing country like Ghana suffered.
Explaining what the three economies are, Andrew Takyi-Appiah said the first economy funds from multilateral/bilateral partners to government; the second economy is government to private sector and the third, which is the ‘bottom of base’ is from employers to employees.
“A lot of the time the funds have dried up at the multilateral/bilateral to government level because every country is keeping their funds within to fund Covid-19 related expenses so they are not giving to our government.
“Once the first economy is not working, government is unable to also engage private sector or even pay for contracts done – in effect, employers are also unable to pay salaries – some even laid off staff and or cut salaries and so purchasing power reduced,” he explained.
He noted that the impact of COVID-19 on the three economies, as explained above slowed down the financial sector ecosystem generally, but even though physical cash could not move around the way it should, “those of us in the digital space benefitted in terms of people transferring money digitally more than ever.”
Touching on Zeepay’s response to COVID-19, Andrew Takyi-Appiah said Zeepay is a global company and everything it does is world class, even in their response to the pandemic.
“We have what we call the Pandemic Response Plan/Strategy – which contains world class processes so that when there is a pandemic, we can scale it easily.
“We were the first to issue a pandemic statement when COVID-19 first hit globally. The statement is the first in the list of items on our website till date and we operate with that statement,” he boasted.
The Zeepay boss said the company has actually practicalized its statement by securing a safe house where it accommodates all of its essential staff from where they are bused to work and back so they are not on public transport to be exposed to Covid-19.
“We also do a lot of Covid-19 testing for our staff – we give them a lot of protection – it is expensive but it has put us in the right place to realize our goals,” he said.
According to him, the company policy on Covid-19 is really about the staff and not even about the business, saying that it is premised on the principle that once the workers are okay, the business will stand.
“That is the model we work with – not just for Covid-19 but in general – anyone will tell you that our staff never leave us – if they leave then we fired them and not because the conditions of service were not good enough,” he boasted.
Asked how Zeepay is preparing to survive the possible risks of the post-Covid-19 normalization period, Andrew Takyi-Appiah said when it comes to risks in terms of profit and loss, Zeepay has no worries there because “we have built our business with world class resilience – our business is completely automated end-to-end so we do not need a staff of 100. We do not see risks to our business – our focus is our people and the adjustments to protect them and ensure their total wellbeing.”
But in terms of living with virus, he noted that the company is already preparing to normalize a lot of its staff-related pandemic response measures to ensure maximum outcome.
New state-of-the-art office building
“We have put up a new state-of-the-art office building at Cantonments with a restaurant, a gym, a squash court, swimming pool and other facilities to cater for the total wellbeing of our staff,” he said. “We are also hunting for properties to accommodate our staff within the same enclave.”
He said all those measures and investments are designed to accommodate the new normal and ensure the risks of catching COVID-19 is very minimal for Zeepay staff.
The Zeepay boss said the company believes Covid-19 is here to stay and people will keep getting sick, out of which some will survive and others will not, so they will continue to run regular Covid-19 tests for their staff to ensure their safety at all times.