The Covid 19 seems to give a sudden glimpse of a future world, one in which digital has become central to every interaction, forcing both organisations and individuals to move up the adoption curve. Digital innovations have a crucial role to play in this phase of reorientation. Like other countries, Africa has embraced the promise of digital economy, and has now understood that it is not a choice but an imperative if the continent is to realise for development potentials.
Traditional plans, strategies and market responses are not the only way to get us there quickly enough, especially a time when African society is increasingly fractured. Digital transformation creates extraordinary opportunities for Africa to grow its economy, create more jobs, developments and transform people’s lives. As governments continue to introduce curfews and lockdowns to promote social distancing, consumers are now interacting with businesses through online platforms. These restrictions are making internet access even more essential to sustain livelihoods and to maintain social contact. In Africa, large consumer segments, especially the older generation, to whom this entire digital world has little appeal, are now becoming active users.
According to Dr Tim Kelly, Lead ICT Specialist, Transport and ICT, World Bank Group, Kenya, has observed that this coronavirus is changing the way the world works and does business. He stated that the spread of the virus and the subsequent shift in public and private sectors, to digital space has exposed a global digital divide in which millions of people still lack access to the internet and digital services. A strategy which has been proposed by the World Bank Group is that this digital initiative will ensure that developing countries in Africa will benefit fully from the new digital solutions in response to Covid 19 pandemic. Dr Kim also stated that mainstreaming digitalisation will be a driving force for innovative growth in Africa. For instance, with the support of fintech companies, businesses can accelerate the uptake of mobile money and financial payment substitutes. In addition, the government of Nigeria is working to improve its country’s digital infrastructure and create the ‘Smart Nigerian Digital Economy.’
Fintech solutions providers are used to make the transactions more convenient. Africans are now gaining more access to the financial services using technology such as mobile payment, digital wallet and micro lending. In Cameroon, MTN has committed to ensure that Cameroonians are having access to its network and services and also allowed them to stay connected in these difficult times. A report from the Research ICT Africa reveals that high speed broadband internet and a broader digital economy play a vital role for the whole African continent. High speed internet access is considered to be an important feature of modern society and that everyone is entitled to access it.
This pandemic highlights the fact that Africa needs to be better prepared digitally and hence by ensuring that people continue to have access to the internet social distancing and self- isolation containment measures are much easier. Lessons learn from this deadly virus should be much- needed wakeup call to stimulate inclusive digital transformation of the African economy.
Collaborating with NanoBNK
NanoBNK, our fintech company is offering its services and solutions to help during this Covid-19 Pandemic in delivering Digital Transformation and omnichannel presence through its Digital Banking solutions: Internet Banking, Mobile Banking, Bill Payment, Agency Banking and Kiosk Banking.