United Nations Development Programme partners with WiFetch to boost Caribbean’s e-commerce sector and economic recovery amid COVID-19 pandemic

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United Nations Development Programme partners with WiFetch to boost Caribbean’s e-commerce sector and economic recovery amid COVID-19 pandemic
WiFetch Chief Operations Officer and Co-Founder Sophie Bannister
WiFetch Chief Operations Officer and Co-Founder Sophie Bannister

(PRESS RELEASE) – One month after launching its contactless delivery service and online marketplace in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, WiFetch has entered into a partnership with The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to promote innovation, economic transformation and quick digital transitions in the midst of the COVID pandemic.

The UNDP and WiFetch recently signed a memorandum of understanding, enlisting WiFetch’s innovation and leadership in the digital economy to provide a safe and supportive e-commerce solution to support economic reactivation in the region.

Under this partnership, the UNDP will provide technical support and financial assistance to WiFetch and other businesses that are tackling two of the most significant challenges experienced in the midst of the COVID pandemic; economic inactivity, and the exclusion experienced by vulnerable persons such as those living with disabilities and the elderly in accessing essential and other goods. UNDP support will also serve to enhance the work with local farmers and fisherfolk through the creation of new platforms: WiFARM and WiFISH.

In a press release announcing the partnership, the UNDP noted that its policy for Barbados and the region suggests “keeping as much cash as possible in people’s hands’, which starts with avoiding layoffs and retooling businesses.” The strategic partnership addresses both of these fundamentals. “UNDP and WiFetch will connect businesses – who have lost customers – to buyers; it will also continue ensuring safe deliveries at home, assisting those who face special difficulties in procuring for their daily needs, by integrating hotline and volunteer services,” the statement further explained.

The operations of WiFetch, a woman-led entity, backed with over fifteen (15) years of combined entrepreneurial experience and digital innovation, is committed to international best practices and supporting the regional economy challenged by COVID-19. WiFetch Chief Operations Officer and Co-Founder Sophie Bannister noted, “Right now we are focused on ensuring food security, working with large brands as well as local farmers, fishermen and artisans. We are a link between the providers and the consumers, with order fulfilment that adheres to the recommended global standards for health, safety and physical distancing.”

Chief-Executive Officer and Co-founder Lily Dash noted that the partnership goes beyond Barbados and will soon include expansion to the Eastern Caribbean and Trinidad. “We are actively preparing to scale up our operations in the Eastern Caribbean and Trinidad, building on our pilot in Barbados. We have aspirations to truly connect the region; to become the Amazon of the Caribbean, utilizing our e-commerce platform to promote locally available products for the good of all, throughout and after this crisis.” Dash revealed.

Dash and Bannister continue to onboard suppliers and payment solutions and are open to the establishment of new partnerships with providers to propel their mission to deliver on behalf of the entire Caribbean.

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