Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe Director General Gift Machengete recently made a speech on the role of tech in Zim post-COVID-19.
The speech made at ITU Digital World 2020 held virtually yesterday outlines what Dr Machengete believes will happen in a number of industries like trade, education and governance. You can read the speech below;
During the COVID – 19 pandemic, digital technologies have been used to ensure continuity in Government, in business, in trade and in education. Furthermore, digital technologies have been used for information dissemination, for forecasting which is required for planning purposes and for contact tracing which is essential in stopping the spread of the virus.
The pandemic has seen increased use of digital technologies and as such, increased demand for broadband. The prevailing high use of digital technologies will certainly continue in the future as they bring convenience to people’s lives and ease of doing business. In the future, digital platforms will also be used to predict and combat similar outbreaks.
- E – Government
To note, Governments have relied on online platforms to disseminate information, create awareness and debunk fake news. These online platforms will continue to be used to disseminate information even after COVID – 19.
Governments have also relied on digital applications that provide artificial intelligence to forecast the spread of the virus and impact of the pandemic, allowing for planning and implementation of appropriate mitigation measures for COVID – 19 as well as predict future occurrence of pandemics of similar nature.
While physical business interactions were stopped during the various lockdowns, business did not come to a halt as people held virtual meetings, cutting down on costs associated with physical meetings. Virtual business meetings will certainly continue after the pandemic. This trend of working from home is likely to be the new normal even after the pandemic as companies can save on rentals and utilities.
While physical trade was stopped during the lockdowns, businesses continued trading online, making use of various e-commerce platforms available such as e-bay and Amazon. This trend will certainly continue after COVID–19.
Schools were also hard hit by the pandemic as they were forced to close early. However, this did not stop learning as various online learning platforms were used for e-learning. It is predicted that a number of virtual schools will be established after the pandemic and as such the various online learning platforms popularised by COVID–19, will remain relevant after the pandemic.
- Contact Tracing
Countries are using digital technologies to do contact tracing and keep track of infections. By using mobile phones, people can be alerted of the various high-risk places to avoid. These applications developed especially for COVID–19 can be used for other diseases in the future and even tracking criminals.
- Need for Broadband
All in all, the pandemic has created a bigger need for high-speed broadband internet as there has been a general increase in the usage of the Internet. Demand for broadband will continue to surge after the pandemic as people will be more accustomed to using the Internet.
On our part as a nation, Zimbabwe is rolling out Community Information Centres in marginalised rural areas to ensure everyone has access to accurate COVID-19 information, children have access to e-learning platforms and businesses have access to e-commerce platforms.