MTN, Airtel, Orange SA, and Vodacom have signed a partnership deal with the United Nations to build a mobile platform that delivers COVID-19 information to about 600 Million people in Africa.
This was disclosed by the Executive Secretary, UN Commission for Africa, Vera Songwe, on Wednesday.
The platform, according to Songwe, will be free to use for nearly half of Africa’s population and if well implemented will be rolled out to Latin America.
She explained that the platform will be available in about 23 African Countries, and will be called the “Africa Communications International Platform.”
The platform went live on Tuesday in some countries posting tips about COVID-19 hotzones, daily updates from government and healthcare groups and symptom checker features.
UN’s Tunde Fafunwa said, “In Africa, the economic impact is now almost greater than the health impact, although we know that infections are still on the rise.
“Personally identifiable information such as mobile numbers will not be passed on from the operators to the Government” he added, talking about possible breach of privacy concerns related with the platform.
“However, we will still be able to identify hotzones through information gathered from features such as the symptom checker.”
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MTN’s CEO, Rob Shutter said: “We were mindful of the realities faced in African Markets where smartphone penetration and internet penetration are low.
“The platform offers services using a combination of text and voice interactions.”