GovChat, a South African startup that has built a civic technology platform, has received R20 million in investment from Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed company, Capital Appreciation. The investment of R20 million from Capital Appreciation's Enterprise Development Fund will be used to grow GovChat's civic technology platform according to the company Founder and CEO, Eldrid Jordaan.
The investment by Capital Appreciation into GovChat comes on the back of South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Investment Conference in 2018. GovChat was invited by the South Africa Investment Conference (SAIC2018) and the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services to participate in the Innovation and Information & Communication Technologies Panel.
“We have an ambitious agenda. This funding will be used to expand the scope of our connected citizens and government platform offering and thereafter, once fully operational, expand to other jurisdictions outside South Africa. Numerous parties have tracked our progress since we participated in the African Union ICT summit in Abidjan, at the invitation of the Government Communication and Information Systems. We look forward to being in a position to also assist these foreign governments in addressing the needs of their citizenship,” said Jordaan.
Spreading civic engagement across Africa
GovChat is a South African-based technology platform that is designed to facilitate engagement between governments and the communities they serve. Currently, GovChat is available in South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Ghana.
GovChat somewhat different fro other civic technology platforms across Africa in that it is not a separate app but it seeks to have governments engage citizens on the apps and digital platforms they already use. For instance, there is a GovChat WhatsApp bot which interacts with citizens and enables them to report issues, make enquiries, and rate services, among other features. It uses the recently launched WhatsApp for Business back-end technology by Praekelt Foundation. This allows citizens to use an app which they are already familiar with in a conversational way while engaging with government at various levels.
“We are delighted to have allocated a portion of our enterprise development funds to GovChat. The team is ambitious, the objectives are bold and we think that the impact can be substantial. We look forward to being part of GovChat’s exciting journey," concluded Motty Sacks, the Chairman of Capital Appreciation.