Blocked around the world, far from their offices, colleagues and relatives, these experts responsible for developing the activity of the giant Huawei, like most workers who have the opportunity (chance) to use technology to stay productive, spent long weeks between webinars, video conferences and other remote work sessions with colleagues and their clients
And what is interesting to analyze here is the tremendous capacity to adapt to this situation which the whole world has finally shown, but more particularly these tech giants who lived this extraordinary experience in the same boat than their customers around the world.
Of course, the biggest companies have been shaken by this unprecedented global pandemic. Critical sectors such as transport, tourism, medicine, education, or even entertainment, and many others, have knelt on the ground, leaving millions of people who have found themselves impacted in a sustainable way by coronavirus worldwide.
However, pivotal moments for those who, like TikTok, took the opportunity to reveal the human dimension of their organization, by filming their very first commercial campaign on TV, entirely during confinement, here again, via the major videoconferencing platform Zoom.
And if the world has shown unprecedented resilience in most sectors of the economy, it is undoubtedly thanks to the speed at which information (on the management of the pandemic eventually) circulated from one smartphone to another, from one group of individuals to another, from one point to another of the globe. Let us now analyze some figures which will point to the urgent need for our countries in Africa to take a serious look at the post-COVID era, under the specter of a technological leap imperative to the survival of our economies which are starting to suffer from the effects of the new Coronavirus.
Africa had more than 400 million Internet users in 2018, 20% more than in 2017. Mobile phones are the preferred means of accessing the Internet (used three times more than computers) and the United Nations estimates that mobile operators are the main creators of jobs today. Before the crisis, the mobile industry was expected to generate 7.9% of GDP and create 3.45 million jobs in sub-Saharan Africa by 2022.– CNBC
Now let’s take a closer look at the Internet penetration rates in each of the African countries.
On this continent of just over half a billion internet users, we note that the record penetration rate is owned by Kenya (87.2%), while the palm of the number of Internet users is owned by the Nigerian giant (+ 126Mio active Internet users).
With the increasingly imminent arrival of 5G, I would like us to consider a disruption at the height of the technological leap that led from 4G to 5G!
Indeed, even if Nigeria is one of the few countries to experiment with 5G for the moment, “only 4% (approximately) of mobile Internet users have switched to 4G, when more than 40% of this population uses 3G connection, slower but cheaper, despite the large coverage of the 4G network in this country. And it’s the same story all over Africa. “
– Read Going hungry for data in South Africa
Shouldn’t this harsh experience of COVID19 mark the start of a new era in which all learners, as soon as they are in the exam class, would automatically benefit from free access to all of the collaborative work that were deployed in an emergency and that enabled them to continue their program as best they could?
On this issue, another case study deserves attention, in terms of support for crisis management at the national level, and within a Senegalese company.
This is the SONATEL Orange group which, from the first days of the state of emergency decreed by the Senegalese President Macky Sall, made available an “Education Pass” giving access to exclusively educational content via its partners: Virtual University of Senegal, Virtual University of Tunisia and CNED, among other contributions to the effort to fight COVID19..
Internally, several health measures have been taken to protect employees and teleworking has generally been established, except for operational teams, agencies, and network maintenance agents who have ensured continuity of service in the field. . As with most companies operating on the basis of agile principles, it was necessary to learn by moving forward, while setting objectives to be achieved and by analyzing the blocking points in order to overcome them week after week.
Let’s go back to Huawei, which distinguished itself during this pandemic, with a set of internal measures whose main objective was to provide employees with physical and mental health, as well as their subsistence in this complicated period.
Indeed, in Senegal, some relevant measures were deployed very quickly at the level of the representation of the company, such as, among other measures, a quick start of the telework plan according to the responsibilities of the employees (in order to minimize contacts), equipping workers with masks or even IT kits that enabled them to work from home, with as much comfort as possible.
Another important aspect taken into consideration by the Chinese giant is the alleviation of the psychological pressure of the employees, with the installation of sports areas as well as rest areas.
: Many are still unaware of it, but Huawei in Senegal proposed, following the call of President Sall to come to support the education sector (among other sectors hard hit by the crisis), the “On action”To local ICT academies and offered online ICT courses through their TalentOnline platform.
To date, more than 370 students from ESP, ESMT, ISI, UVS, UGB, EPT are enrolled and are taking distance online courses following which certification exam sessions will be held online.
Should we not therefore consider, for African countries, at the same time as an in-depth restructuring of the health system, an integration of the technological dimension of the deployment of connected infrastructures, supported by a significant and active participation of private sector and governments? Isn’t providing a reliable, fast, secure internet with universal coverage becoming an increasingly compelling imperative in light of the upheavals observed? Especially since it has been shown during this pandemic that it only takes a little bit of willpower to make it feasible.
I would like to have brainstorming sessions in all spheres of society, in startups, in schools, in universities, in large companies, regional organizations, trade fairs but also and above all in decision-making bodies.
It is time to start more vigorously this technological leapfrog so long theorized in Africa.
Ps: On the figures of’Internet World Stats, I clearly could not refrain from comparing Senegal to Rwanda on each of the metrics.
And you, which countries have you compared? I’m waiting to read you in comments.