Donating money through mobile technology is gradually becoming a new trend in certain parts of Middle East and other principal parts of Northern Africa. This year’s Ramadan bears witness to the efficiency of mobile technology. According to reliable sources, this year’s Ramadan witnessed a huge amount of donation from numerous donors to different N.G.O’s located within the Middle East region. The founder of T.A. Telecom in an interview with Silicon Africa, attributed the recent success of Ramadan to a mobile app christened as Megakheir .
Megakheir, also known as ‘mega goodness’, is a not –for- profit initiative owned by TA Telecoms based in Cairo, Egypt. It was created purposely to allow Egyptians to make donations using their mobile. Moreover, it is a help in ensuring that, charitable donations could be done successfully and easily accessible by N.G.O’s.
In order to find out more, we caught up with Amr Shady (Founder of TA Telecom), to share his views and expectations concerning the wide usage of mobile technology in certain part of Middle East and Northern Africa. Also, He avowed firmly why Megakheir is a certain relief to N.G.O’s and donors.
Below is our exclusive interview with Amr Shady of TA Telecoms.
SA : Could you please brief us about TA Telecom?
Amr : TA Telecom is an innovative company founded in 1999 and focuses on creative mobile services and applications for businesses and consumers. We have been recognized as one of the top 5 innovators to watch in emerging markets and one of the fastest growing companies in the region, part of the Arabia Fast 500. We are also proud to be selected as an Endeavor company.
SA : How many countries do you offer services to ?
Amr : Currently TA Telecom works with operators and mobile providers around the world to offer services in Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Afghanistan, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with ambitious plans to span the continent of Africa.
SA : This year’s Ramadan witnessed huge donation via MegaKheir. Could you tell us about MegaKheir?
Amr : MegaKheir, which translates to ‘mega goodness’, is a not-for-profit initiative at TA Telecom that focuses on using mobile for positive social impact. One of our first products is our successful mobile donations platform which allows Egyptians to make donations using their mobile. It means that NGOs are able to drive fund raising campaigns, leveraging use of mobile phones and devices across the country to maximize reach and impact. The app allows users to make larger donations whilst there is also a SMS version for those without smartphones. This has lead to MegaKheir being responsible for 95 per cent of the mobile donations raised in the country
SA : Why did you create Megakheir ?
Amr : We felt we had reached a point where we could use our expertise and skills to help others and give something back to the community the business was born in.
The practice of making charitable donations is a personal responsibility for humans to ease economic hardship and eliminate inequality. Of course, this is of particular importance to the Muslim community during Ramadan. However, it can be hard for people in less developed areas of Africa to actually ensure that these donations are actually going to legitimate charities. And this is where Megakheir comes in, by making reputable NGOs easily accessible to donors.
SA : How beneficial is it to NGO’s ?
Amr : The main benefit of MegaKheir is to allow NGOs to launch and manage fundraising projects through a mobile donations platform, something which has been difficult in the past due to logistical barriers. With these barriers now cleared, NGOs across Egypt and the Middle East have been able to reach new supporters and therefore gain new donations that they probably would not have got previously.
SA : Mobile Technology is changing the art of giving. How true is it?
Amr : Giving is an inherent part of our culture and technology has become the mechanism to donate. The fact of the matter is that using mobile technology is easier, especially when there are safety concerns and traffic congestions. More and more NGOs are going down this route because the reach is greater, so more people are donating and therefore gaining new supporters. The actual donation process is so much faster, meaning that there is little to no inconvenience for the donor.
SA : What does the future hold for Mobile technology?
Amr : According to research by Analysys Mason, the telecom market will be one of sub-Saharan Africa’s major growth areas over the next five years, mainly down to an increase in 3G coverage and the widespread penetration of low-cost smartphones. This means in Africa, mobile will be more important than ever.
Mobile banking is another area that will play a major role in the future of mobile technology in Africa and around the world. As MegaKheir has highlighted, mobile can be an ideal platform to transfer and donate money flexibly and quickly. Take Swish Payments for example who have just come to africa.
It’s great to see African companies and entrepreneurs embracing the mobile revolution and projects such as Nafsi which aims to bring Big Data to the continent. The marriage of mobile technology and big data will undoubtedly change the way we transact business across the world, particularly in Africa and the Middle East.
SA :Do you own other services apart from MegaKheir ?
Amr : Our products cover a range of mobile services including content production (Waseelah) to mobile personality tests (Nafsi). Our longest running is Buzz! a mobile content platform that can provide relevant real-time information to anyone via their mobile phone. We have some more exciting products coming soon but I don’t want to spoil any surprises…
SA : Any word for NGO’s struggling with donating issues ?
Amr : Let’s talk! Alongside our work on MegaKheir, TA Telecom work with NGOs on other projects, tailoring applications and donation platforms to meet their needs. This approach means the delivery of successful mobile fundraising campaigns, allowing NGOs to build more support and better achieve their aims.
SA : How can our readers download megakheir app as well as contact TA Telecom?