The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, defining global health crisis of a time, was described by the World Health Organisation as the greatest challenge faced since World War Two. Widely known for the manner in which it has disrupted the norm of life, Covid-19 was declared a pandemic early 2020.
It has since seen schools closed with teachers and learners opting for the online version of learning engagements. Employers and employees have not been an exception as they have had to innovate ways for #WorkingFromHome. But COVID-19 could be more than a health crisis. By stressing every one of the countries it touches, it has the potential to create devastating social, economic and political crises that will leave deep scars.
But despite all the doom and gloom due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there are some bright spots on the digital space.
During the first in a webinar series by CIO East Africa, speakers unanimously agreed to the indisputable fact that Covid-19 or Coronavirus, whichever is easier, has proven the biggest unforetold disruptor of the norm. They also opined that it could indeed be leveraged for a catalyst to the digitalisation journey of businesses Globally.
Speaking at the webinar was Benn Roberts, the Regional Chief Technical Officer, East Africa at Liquid Telecom who pointed out that corona just kickstarted the digital economy in a move to build Africa’s digital future. He however pointed out the apparent challenges that organisations are facing for having not been prepared for the disruption.
“Liquid Telecom has 310 schools connected to broadband, seeing very high uptake of special offers of Microsoft education packages,” Benn said adding; ” But universities, equipped across Africa with high speed broadband are also struggling to adopt.”
Benn also opined that with with schools closed to an indefinite future and with Radio and TV stations being available but not being as informative, IT leaders should enable tools for the shift towards distance based learning and affordability of broadband to home consumers.
Another speaker, George Njuguna, the Group CIO at Safaricom Plc intimated that with more than 60% of the global workforce now #WorkingFromHome, it is important that internet service providers avail affordable, safe and secure offerings to their customers.
“The internet is critical especially now given the value instantaneous up to date information about the pandemic and for working and learning from home,” said Njuguna. He added that Safaricom as an ISP is currently working on the internet reliability and affordability.
Winding up the late afternoon webinar session hosted by CIO East Africa was Laura Chite, CEO CIO East Africa, who encouraged employees to stay close even while working form different places.
She said; “#WorkingFromHome is the new norm to curb the fast spreading coronavirus and to facilitate the digitisation agenda. It however should not keep us apart. We are still a team whether working within or without four walls.”
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