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The new normal: life after the lock-down for businesses
30 July, 2020

The rapid changes brought by COVID19 call for adapting to a new way of life as economies gradually reopen. This means wearing a mask in public, social distancing and no more handshakes. Indeed, individuals, communities, businesses, and governments are all learning new ways to connect virtually. In-person conferences have gone virtual. Remote working has soared whilst others have opted for a mix including having fewer staff working from the office. These changes could make for better management and more flexible workforces in some sectors of the economy. In the manufacturing sector providing additional protective gear and daily temperature checks are required.

The new norms mean that companies will have to rethink their business models. Companies will have to rebuild or strengthen their backup and safety plans whilst others may have to become innovative to remain in business. Many companies will need to align their priorities with recent developments by taking additional resilience measures to sustain their operations. In Senegal, for example, the country’s trade ministry has created an e-commerce platform that provides easy access to websites of small and medium-sized enterprises. The Rwandan government has encouraged extensive use of electronic payments on a wide range of transactions including transportation services on buses, taxis and motor bikes. Indeed, the benefits of e-commerce are evident in South Korea, which is one of the biggest e-commerce markets in the world. Industry figures suggest that the retail e-commerce volume in the country will grow to US$32.56 billion dollars by 2021, up from US$19.12 billion in 2016.

Going forward, there should be continued efforts to:

  1. make additional investments and promote quality and affordable internet and digital services;
  2. support businesses to improve their communication infrastructure and provision of on-line services;
  3. enhance ICT knowledge and capacity building; and
  4. Institute legal reforms to liberalize ICT markets.

 

 

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