In Namibia, COVIDー19 lockdowns have negatively impacted the informal sector, especially street vendors who depend on a daily income. The UNDP Namibia Accelerator Lab partnered with Tambula, a local online shop to provide informal traders with a digital commercial platform to reach more clients. The platform launched on 18 May 2020 is connecting the local informal market to a digital platform.
Jerobeam Mwedihanga, Founder of the Tambula online shop established the shop with aims to get local Namibian brands to markets all over the world. Due to the limited movement of people during the lockdown, the flow of customers was limited, and we came up with the proposal that digital tools could provide assistance in reaching more customers. As such, the Namibia Accelerator Lab partnered with Tambula to pilot the initiative to ensure that informal traders do not lose more income. The initiative aims to leverage technology to connect small and informal market vendors to a wider customers base in Windhoek using an online delivery system where fruit and vegetable vendors can sell their goods through an e-commerce platform Tambula.
Currently, there are 10 informal market traders in Windhoek registered with Tambula for the pilot phase of the project. The pilot is looking specifically at those that provide essential goods looking specifically at (but not limited to) fruits and vegetable vendors. The items are then purchased from the vendors and delivered to the customers. While formal sectors are making use of technology to aid business continuity and most have moved to telecommuting, the informal sector struggles as the pandemic has exposed a great digital divide and exposed the lack of digital readiness for this sector. Economic measures have been put in place to support businesses, however measures tend the benefit the formal sector over the informal sector.