UN Praises Ant Financials and M-Pesa for Fighting Against COVID19!
Last week, the United Nations, in a monthly newsletter, listed Ant Financials’ blockchain as instrumental in helping fight the coronavirus pandemic. It also mentioned the digital money transfer M-Pesa, which is widely used in Africa. The Task Force issued the newsletter on Digital Financing of the Sustainable Development Goals. The UN acknowledged the contribution of Ant Duo-Chain, a supply chain finance platform launched by Ant Financial, early last year. Usually, after any supplier delivers goods, it has to abide for weeks before the invoice gets approved, and payment is made. Ant Duo-Chain enables SMEs to get immediate credit by trading invoices to banks, which accumulate the money from the corporate consumer. This provides excellent liquidity for suppliers. SMEs strive to get funding from banks because the banks have restricted clarity into their finances, and therefore SMEs are at high risk. By utilizing Ant Duo-Chain, the supplier, the bank, and the corporate consumer can bestow details of transactions, strengthening trust between the parties. Therefore the bank identifies the invoice is real, whether it has been approved, and the capability for the consumer to pay. This decreases the bank’s risk so it can disburse money to the supplier. “Ant Duo-Chain, a blockchain-powered supply chain finance platform developed by Ant Financial, allows small and medium suppliers to apply for loans from banks with their receivables from large enterprises, helping them deal with financial constraints during the coronavirus epidemic,” stated the UN in its statement. Meantime, Ant Financial has launched a blockchain-based online bid opening system to enable SMEs to join in contactless bidding for acquisition. A few weeks ago, Ant Financials’ mutual aid blockchain platform Xiang Hu Bao added coronavirus to its list of critical illnesses. The platform will make a maximum one-time payment of 100,000 RMB ($14,089) to members who contract Covid-19 and pass away. However, other members will not fund this payout, and Ant Financial will foot the bill itself. Shifting to M-Pesa, the UN stated that Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom developed the transaction limit on the app to Ksh150,000 ($1,500). It also dismissed money transfer fees for transactions under Ksh1,000 ($10) for the subsequent three months. The UN considers the reduction in transaction costs could profit low-income users in this period of crisis. M-Pesa is not blockchain-based, and Vodafone owns Safaricom. A few days ago, the U.S. Homeland Security registered blockchain for food acquisition under its list of essential services.