When Covid-19 hit the World, the West assumed that Africa, poor, dirty Africa, will be washed down the drains, through filthy open sewage ways and into the depths of the Earth, again they were wrong about the Motherland.
One of the World’s richest men, Bill Gates, predicted that ten million lives would be wiped out by the virus. The assumption was that Africa will not be able to respond appropriately and fast enough, hell, how could they, after all the US and all of Europe had failed.
However, Africa proved all of them wrong, Africa was fast, Africa was precise and Africa was willing to change. Overnight, sanitizers appeared in every doorway, buckets of water and soap greeted you at every entrance, no more hugging, no handshakes, the crowded busses were brought down to level seats and borders were closed.
Just like that, Africa in no time controlled the spread and reversed the trend. In fact, while most of the wporld is still in caution mode, countries like Tanzania are fully operational with schools and businesses running as usual, with caution in the front pocket of course.
Writing for http://blogs.harvard.edu/ Eric Osiakwan, says “…African leaders did not hesitate, swiftly they locked down their countries and put in place adherence to the protocols of social distancing and washing of hands. These preventive measures and the sudden change of behavior slowed down the virus’s serious impact in Africa.”
The writer equates Africa’s response to what the experts say is the only solution to the pandemic, “According to Harvard Health preventing the spread of the virus is rooted in behavioral change. Starting up new behavior in the new normal was what the US and Europe could not do but Africa was able to – in record time and so was Asia. Latin America is facing the consequence of not starting up the new normal.”
Africa gone digital
Another blond spot for the world in regard to Africa and response to Covid-19 is Africa’s quick uptake of technology. With borders closed and hotels shut down, boardrooms were quickly moved to online platforms.
Harvard blog notes that after a successful digital industry response to COVID-19 project in South Africa, an online meeting with a group of African technology entrepreneurs and software engineers was convened to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the African continent.
“During this online meeting we discussed ways in which we could leverage technology to solve the pandemic across the continent…” the Ubuntu driven Cloud Native Platform was born to showcase COVID-19 innovations by African entrepreneurs.
After this meeting the Combat COVID-19 Africa platform was built; “It allows for Africans to combat the pandemic through sharing, collaboration and resource allocation. We continued to have these meetings discussing different functions the platform should have and how it can be adopted all over the continent,” writes Harvard blog’ Eric.
Some of the platforms running on the platform are; Covi-ID – a privacy-preserving, open-source platform that uses QR codes to share health credentials from South Africa. AfrikanCreate, a free online volunteer platform for African creatives to share ideas and collaborate on relief projects aimed at addressing COVID-19 challenges.
OurEC is a food donation and volunteer platform for people living in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The platform connects individuals who wish to donate food, medication and clothing with underprivileged communities around the province.
The list is long: In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) one of the solutions developed is www.stopcoronavirus.cd aimed at raising awareness about COVID-19 in the country. A second application developed by some of our platform volunteers from the DRC is a smartphone application called STOP Coronavirus that offers users tips on how to prevent the virus. In Botswana some of our volunteers were involved in helping build a COVID-19 dashboard for the government, they also built a digital platform for applying for movement permits in the country.
All these platforms and applications are being built by young Africans who have taken to digital. It is important to emphasize that Africa has more digital native than any other continent or put differently Africa’s young people present the largest digital demographic dividend of the 21st century – Harvard blog.
“Who would have thought that African entrepreneurs whom the odds were stuck against would be starting up the new normal? But as Nelson Mandela once said, “it always seems impossible until it is done”.