ZIMBABWE-BORN businessman Strive Masiyiwa has ramped up his fight against the deadly Coronavirus virus on the continent, and – through his campaign called #OneFightAgainstCorona – is now appealing for data to back a US$100 billion stimulus package to bailout African governments, with the continent’s economies hit by Covid-19 global pandemic.
Through his Facebook blog, which has over 4,6 million followers, Masiyiwa appeals to individuals and SMEs to complete surveys from which data will be used to make the case for much-needed bailout for African economies.
Masiyiwa writes: “Now is the time for action. We need your help.
As many of you know, I’m part of an initiative that is lobbying for a $100bn Stimulus Fund for African governments to help their businesses and entrepreneurs, including I expect some of you here on this platform.
Problem is, we just don’t have enough data to support our work. No one really knows what is happening!
You can help us to help you.
“When it comes to Africa, one of the biggest challenges we have is getting accurate information (data) to help us convince governments and global donors. This is where you come in. Give us the data!
How? Please complete at least one or, if possible, all, of the five surveys I am going to share with you here. We are doing this because my team at Liquid Telecom Kenya was asked by Kenya’s leading industrialists to help develop a platform to help them collect data that can help them in their push for assistance for Kenyan businesses.
“When I saw this platform, I asked my team to expand it so that it can help any country. The platform they created is being released to Africa, for the very first time through this platform,” he added.
Masiiwa urged people in their self-isolation spaces to fill in the surveys, whose data would be used for mapping purposes.
“Now if your nation is in national lockdown and you are staying isolated through social distancing as you must, you might feel you can’t do much to help, but you are wrong. By taking the time to fill out and also share these surveys with your friends and colleagues, you are doing something very important to help us get assistance to Africa.”
Why is this information important?
Think for instance, when you read or hear a government say that “few people have tested positive”.
Masiiwa said: “How can we be assured that they have put in place mechanisms to actually identify and trace people who have the virus?
“Remember, many people themselves will get away with mild symptoms, and yet manage to infect (and even unknowingly kill) other people they come in contact with, whilst others will simply lie at home and get support from family until they recover. Sadly many will die.
“Problem is, we don’t know enough yet. Then there is the challenge of so many businesses and entrepreneurs like many of you, now forced to work from home. What impact is this having on you, your business, your family? If we don’t have data, then how can we advocate for help?” he said, adding that “Today I need you each to take action by completing these five surveys, and over the next seven days, to share this post or the links with your friends and colleagues.”