COVID–19, Information & Communications Technology, and the Economy

Author: Koketso Aabobe, Digital Analyst, Innolead Consulting

The COVID -19 pandemic has altered the operative ways in which the human race regionally and worldwide achieves tasks. Its lasting implications will be felt for years to come. Day by day, additional tests are conducted and new cases are concluded around the globe, with more people going into hospitalizations or quarantine and leaving ever widening gaps in business operations.

The global business set up is in such a way that we need to interact in the market place, at most times being physically together in meetings or working groups. Its unthinkable to do that at the moment, its inconceivable to expect a sales agent to show up at your doorstep, shake your hand, and share a lough with you before going on to blow you away with a product pitch.  Here now, this calls for new methods of interaction today and in the future, for as long as the invisible enemy wishes. The standard operation as we had mastered it is far distant from being the answer, in these COVID times its house sleepers and coffee and we bury our faces on screens and monitors.

The World is familiar and immensely rich with technology, after all we are the ones that built it from scratch into a strength we can depend upon. Who would have thought we would need so much technological connectivity across the breadth and length of the globe at once? Unprepared as we were from the onset, we have indeed  showcased the technological muscle of this good earth we call home.

Information Technology has seen us through the storm thus far. In an inevitable but immensely uncertain future the new normal of almost over night massive shifts towards technology might just be a mainstay of our post COVID – 19 business environment. In the context of economics, the writing has been on the wall for a while now; we are in an unprecedented financial slump, a slump so unique in that it got several major economies to come to a stand still. All previous economic recessions were difficult for the world, but people could still move from point A to point B. Not the COVID – 19 version.

In the context of Botswana, its as unique as it gets, and as devastating as it gets. Botswana simply makes money by people flying into the country for two main purposes: to buy diamonds or to go wake up at a camp in the middle of the Okavango delta’s heavenly beauty. From allover the world they flew in, day and night, revenue rolled in, healthcare stayed almost free for all citizens, education all paid for by Government, and horizons glittered with growth. Whats left of the economy are travel restrictions, empty airports and empty revenue accounts for tourism and diamond business participants. A very sad reality that leaves one to wonder: how long can Government still afford all the free services that have been a mainstay in Batswana’s menu for decades? Is this the beginning of the end of government sponsored schooling? Free health care? Low service rates? Very scary, but possible.

To conclude, COVID – 19 has brought the globe to its knees, shattering some companies and economies worldwide. However, these challenges offer a chance for brand new businesses to flourish supported by a brand new digital reality – digitally driven and contactless. Medical care has found a brand new means and is planning to reach a lot of newer areas. The globe is exploring and implementing ‘ways and means’ that seek to lessen the disruption caused to humanity. This therefore means it is time for DX (digital transformation).

COVID – 19 is the catalyst to push most organisations to become digital and digitally savvy to survive and remain relevant. #StaySafe

Koketso Aabobe is a Digital Analyst at Innolead Consulting offering Project and Business Management Consultancy Solutions. He can be contacted on +267 3909102 and innolead@innolead.co.bw