Cellulant Receives Africa Business Continuity Institute’s Award for its Resilience


Cellulant, a pan-African payments firm last evening received the most effective recovery of the year 2019 award from Africa’s Business Continuity Institute Awards (BCI) in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Cellulant received the award for resilience and business continuity following the 15th January terrorist attack at the Dusit Complex that took the lives of 6 staff members.

The BCI Awards is the most prestigious event globally in the business continuity calendar and honours business continuity and resilience professionals and organizations worldwide.

Cellulant wins BCI Africa Award for most effective recovery 2019

Speaking during the award ceremony in Johannesburg South Africa, Cellulant’s Group Head of Technical Operations, George Murage dedicated the award as a tribute to the memory of the Brave 6 who, through their sheer valiance, laid their lives on the line to save their colleagues.

Winners of the BCI Africa awards are automatically entered into the BCI Global Awards that takes place in London each November as part of the BCI Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony.

Cellulant, Africa’s Phoenix

Despite Cellulant suffering the most number of casualties, from the January terrorist attack at their Kenyan Headquarters, the company became Africa’s phoenix. Their rise from the rubble and ashes at 14 Riverside to their current temporary offices at Delta and West End Towers was through sheer determination, an undying spirit and putting its people first.

Cellulant’s Kenya team at their new temporary offices in West End Towers, Waiyaki Way

TechMoran caught up with Murage for a comment following the award announcement on what it took for the company to recover, how they were able to maintain business continuity and sustain operations.

TechMoran: Cellulant’s payment gateway is one of the major backbones for mobile and online payments in Africa. The events of January dealt a heavy blow with the heaviest toll being the technical departments, how well prepare were you, what are some of the actions you took immediately and afterwards to ensure business continuity, service delivery and assurance to your customers and partners.

Murage: Cellulant has since its inception succeeded in bestowing a very family-oriented culture among its staff. This is one of the main things that helped us ride out the storm. That staff were able to reach out to one another, mourn, console and commiserate with the families that were affected directly by the tragedy. This put a very human face to what was going on. Immediately after the tragedy, we adopted a company-wide counselling program that was mandatory for all staff. At a very basic level, a business is about the people first. 

We were thus very clear from the get-go that if our people were not doing well then the business would break. Our priority was thus to literary put our arms around our various teams and assure them that they were not going through this alone and that the business would be there for them, not just through the tragedy but for as long as we had to for the staff to be at a better place, not to work, but because at Cellulant, we look at people as human beings first.

We were fortunate that we have world-class Pan-African talent. We therefore brought in personnel from our other markets in Africa to staff our service desk and to pick up critical functions. We had another layer of a technical team of engineers and developers from Ghana, Zambia, and Uganda to provide cover for the Kenyan technical teams.

One of the biggest moments of retrospective pride for us post January 15th was that, in building out our technology infrastructure, we didn’t want it to be based in one location or in our office. Thus we had distributed our infrastructure to co-location sites. We also use various cloud providers. The only service that was localised within our 14 Riverside headquarters was our telephony which we were able to get back up within a few days following the incident. We did however communicate relentlessly with our customers to inform them that the occurrence had not affected any elements of our service delivery to them. 

We had good relationships with our providers such as Internet solutions who came to our aid with co-location space. Various other partners and suppliers offered assistance with whatever they could help to ensure that we got back on our feet. It was very encouraging that most of our suppliers and partners called to offer help with sitting space, co-location and other critical amenities.

Winning this is a great way to uphold the legacy of our Brave 6 whose work continues to transform millions of lives across Africa. 

Since January 15th, Cellulant has continued to stand strong and pushed the boundaries on what it means to be a people-first company. Since then, the company continues to stand with the families of the Brave Six and has opened channels for the public to do the same. In honor of the work of the brave 6 they set up a fundraising channel using their last software masterpiece- Mula (now rebranding to Tingg), with the goal of ensuring that the children left behind will be educated, the families receive healthcare and they have shelter for the foreseeable future.