Airtel Kenya has announced a partnership with Mydawa, the only registered e-pharmacy in Kenya. Airtel customers will get zero-rated access to the Mydawa website and mobile app and pay for their purchases via Airtel Money when ordering medicine or items for healthcare, wellness or personal care. Customers in Nairobi who use Mydawa can have their orders delivered to them at no extra cost.
Over 1 million people in the country have ordered masks, gloves, soaps, sanitizers and other hygiene and personal care products from Mydawa over the past year. The use of the e-commerce platform will help flatten the Covid-19 curve, as it encourages social distancing as advised by the Ministry of Health.
Pursuing value-added partnerships with third-party commercial entities has proved to be an excellent strategy for MNOs in diverse markets. Here we see a major operator in Kenya partnering with a company that has a lock on the e-pharmacy business in that country, zero-rating the data needed to access it and make the payment transactions.
This is a win-win arrangement for Airtel and for Mydawa; the latter gets access to the operator’s customer base, while the former gets more transactions for its proprietary mobile money platform as well as a boost for its brand. Particularly during the pandemic, the pharmacy business has become more important, and accessing its products virtually helps support the fight against Covid-19. So some of the benefit to Airtel’s brand can be expected to come from the perception of public-spiritedness.