Short Message Services are ideal in situations where financial resources are low, where internet connections are limited, and where locations are remote. Thus, the emerging economies in Africa stand to benefit significantly from effectively leveraging the simple, yet profound tool that is international SMS.
The fundamental benefits of an SMS come down to three things:
- It’s cost-effective – this matters in countries with limited resources
- It’s instant – a message is sent and received when it’s needed
- It’s not restricted by country – this creates more opportunities for growth
Let’s consider the advantages of SMS communication for two focus industries in Africa.
1) Agriculture in Africa
In 2015, a very interesting rapid appraisal study conducted in Kenya revealed that all Farmer Trainers owned mobile phones and relied heavily on SMS communication. While Information and Communication Technologies have come a long way since then, much of the findings still hold relevance today.
Did you know that 70% of the African population relies on harvesting natural resources and small-scale agriculture for their livelihoods? In terms of economic stability, the development of most African countries depends on agriculture. It stands to reason that agricultural productivity can be enhanced through greater knowledge-sharing opportunities among rural communities.
SMS has a significant role to play here. Below are some examples of the way texting benefits farmers:
- Information broadcasts are available to farmers during the working day
- Pertinent information can be put to use right away
- Farmers can share important agricultural insights with one another
- Service providers, extension workers and local administration are more accessible
To make the most of their land, farmers need to be well informed of agricultural best practices and the latest improvements in agronomy and breeding. This makes SMS an effective means to convey such details on general farming practices as:
- Type of fodder
- Improved seedlings, soil fertility and harvesting
- Input price, availability, and marketing
- Crop management and use of fertilisers
- Scheduling crop activities
In short, SMS can bridge the gap between the essential information available and the farmers that really need it. Additionally, international SMS broadens the reach of local farmers and stakeholders across borders, maintaining lines of communication that wouldn’t exist otherwise.
2) Healthcare in Africa
Needless to say, healthcare systems involve far more than diagnosing and treating illnesses. Balancing insurance and financial management, confidential medical information, and personal patient data must be accounted for in developing effective communication channels. And, healthcare as a service-based industry must meet unparalleled demands of customer support and excellent customer care during patient interactions.
So, how do the professionals concerned meet the individual needs of their patients? Firstly, by maintaining accessible communication opportunities. Secondly, by offering a personalised service. These two critical elements will help patients feel looked after and satisfied in their healthcare experience.
In certain rural areas, connectivity is poor and locations are remote. Sometimes a patient may need treatment that’s not available in their region. In such cases, international SMS really comes into its own as a reliable, secure, cost-effective channel for meeting a patient’s healthcare needs.
Here are a few aspects of healthcare that are streamlined through a broader integration of SMS in medical communication systems:
- Prescribing medicines
- Monitoring the vitals in patients with chronic conditions
- Accessing patient medical history
- Payment processing
- Claim submission
- Back office administration
The medical field has always been of the primary sectors to benefit from emerging technologies. Quick, seamless solutions for patients and doctors to connect with one another have improved the healthcare process immensely. For example, think of the telemedicine platforms that have been invaluable through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Serving Emerging Economies
Distributing text messages on demand sounds attractively convenient, but, how do you know whether your SMS has reached the right person? When it comes to medical patients, insurance information, or online payments, SMS comes with a new set of challenges.
Fortunately, there are systems such as ValiPort that ensure better security through identity validation. This makes mobile financial transactions more secure without encroaching on private information. Thus, fraud is avoided and POPIA compliance is upheld.
From expanding a farming supply network to delivering excellent customer (or patient) experiences, international SMS supports emerging African economies. The right messaging solutions bridges the knowledge gap between service partners and those who benefit from them the most.
If you want to open the doors to cross-border opportunities, then contact Cellfind for the right messaging solutions.