Humanitarian Services During Covid-19: Some Top CEOs
Apple CEO, Tim Cook shared on Twitter that the company has been attempting to source necessary supplies that are needed for healthcare workers both in the U.S. and Europe and that the company is joining “millions of masks” for this use. Apple also detailed some of its other updates via earlier releases, including a $15 million donation, along with two-to-one corporate matching for all employee donations that go towards COVID-19 response.
Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos provided details about the change in Amazon’s prioritization for its warehousing and logistics operations, which now focus on essential items including daily household staples, baby and medical supplies. Bezos also reiterated Amazon’s commitment to hiring 100,000 new roles, along with raising hourly wages for fulfilment workers. Bezos notes that while the company has “placed purchase orders for millions of face masks” that it intends to distribute to its full-time and contract workers who are not able to work from home, very few of those orders have been filled” to do the global supply shortage. He further notes that these resources are likely to go to frontline healthcare workers first and that the company will focus on getting them to their staff in order of priority once they become available.
Oliver Alawuba, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc. CEO, through her UBA Foundation, has announced a whopping five billion naira to initiate a pan-African response to the fight against the COVID-19 global pandemic. The donation will provide significant and much-needed support to Nigeria and 19 other African countries, by supplying critical care facilities and financial support to Governments.
E-commerce giant, Konga Online Shopping Limited CEO, Prince Nnamdi Ekeh, has dished out a N10m palliative which 10,000 customers will benefit from alongside FREE SHIPPING during this period. “The health & safety of our customers remains our priority. Following the recent outbreak and spread of COVID-19 within the country, we have taken the decision to close some of our pick-up centers. We plead the understanding of our partners and merchants and urge that they use new locations close to them. 10,000 customers will benefit from Konga’s N10m Palliative. Use code ‘SOLOSAFE’ checkout for all your needs @konga.com from N10K. Shipping is FREE.”
Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, on Friday March 27, announced an $800 million pledge to support businesses and health organizations fighting the coronavirus. Part of that pledge includes donating “2-3 million face masks” to the CDC Foundation. The post also detailed the larger effort by Google to donate both cash and ads to help support small and medium-sized businesses, health organizations, and academic institutions. That fund includes $250 million in ad grants to help the World Health Organization and other government agencies provide information on combating COVID-19’s spread.
Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella describes some of its telehealth platform software work, as well as a number of collaborative data projects, including the John Hopkins University global COVID-19 confirmed case tracker. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also released a chatbot assessment tool for COVID-19 that uses Microsoft’s health chatbot tech as its underlying framework. Earlier, Microsoft’s Chief Scientific Officer, Eric Horvitz announced that it would be providing an open research data set in partnership with colleagues at academic institutions around the world, as well as the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Chan Zuckerberg initiative. The data set, called the COVID-19 Open Research Data Set, includes more than 29,000 scholarly articles about the virus and will grow as more are published.
Telecommunication lead, MTN Nigeria’s CEO, Rob Shuter has announced that as part of a concerted effort to support its customers, MTN Nigeria would help amplify government’s sensitization efforts using more channels to deliver health and safety information and would suspend fees for all money transfers using its Momo Agent network. The company will temporary close some of its stores. The ones that will remain open will operate reduced hours and maintain strict hygiene and social distancing measures. Also, most of its staff would start working from home as the company assured that its operations would continue to run at full scale with essential staff working limited hours on site.
First Bank Nigeria has observed the indefinite closure of all educational institution nationwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, according to the CEO, FirstBank of Nigeria Limited, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, they are partnering with the Government, United Nations, Innovative technology firms, to provide e-learning solution with the Government approved curriculum for students. “FirstBank will finance the rollout of e-learning solution accredited by all necessary authorities both online and offline with the offline version eliminating the challenge posed by data affordability. As an immediate first intervention, we have contributed towards the drive to enable 1 Million Children to move to e-learning immediately. Unprecedented times require unprecedented measures and when we come together to solve the problems and challenges we collectively face we achieve great feats”, he said.
Any lessons? There are at least 3 things to take home from all these – united we can achieve great feats; government should learn to support businesses not frustrate them, and leadership is tested by what you do during a crisis.