The path to economy recovery in post lockdown Africa isn’t same old work pattern but deployment of technology – Chen Lei, Regional Chief, Huawei

Africa will have to adopt innovative, tech-driven models of doing business and running its society if it is to see a quick economic recovery after the lockdown down. That advised was given by Chen Lei, the Huawei regional president in Southern Africa.

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Left: Chen Lei, Huawei Southern Africa President

Africa is set to lose 2.5% of its annual GDP, according a report published by Chinese media. The setback is due to the complete lockdown of society for a full month to curb the spread of the Coronavirus. Stimulating the economy for quick recovery will therefore demand a better way of working that puts into considerations future outbreak.

Chen Lei said the decision to shutdown society was laudable but now governments and businesses must turn attention to rebuilding the economy and society. He called that the ‘Next Phase’. In other words, they must put infrastructure in place to dial up work, business, and society to take advantage of the 4th industrial revolution featuring 5G, AI, teleconferencing, telemedicine, mobile money, e-learning, e-commerce, and distant working.

Chei explained, “A new business model is taking shape across sectors, one characterized by remote work, distance education, remote healthcare, online shopping and mobile money. These business models span transportation, security, finance, medicine, education and entertainment.”

“When we reopen, communities and workplaces will have to continue practising social distancing. We will continue to rely on high-speed connectivity to bind us together. In many cases, ICT networks support the fight against COVID-19, but also the evolution of human society itself”, he expatiated.

He emphasized that going forward the deployment of technological support “presents a historic opportunity for Africa to use ICT to catch up with, and overtake other nations in terms of human development and quality of life for all its citizens”.

With global economy badly impacted by the pandemic, a continent that relies largely on depleting natural resources, which are also fast turning into commodities, must embrace a new model of running its society.

This is instructive for small businesses too. Having seen the trend in disease outbreak in the past one decade, a new infection on equal or greater scale may unleash itself soon. While people shelter-in place technology will keep the society and business running to some extent.

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