The obtaining wave of digitalisation, accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, is an opportunity for local industry to boost export earnings by expanding markets into the region and beyond, experts say.
Businesses in Zimbabwe and the rest of the region are embracing digitalisation in their operations, following a wave of the pandemic, which forced people to reduce physical interaction and work from home.
Digitalisation is an opportunity for local businesses to enhance their competitiveness and gain traction on both regional and international markets, according to Dandemutande chief executive officer Never Ncube.
“This technology wave has allowed us to improve our online interaction with all stakeholders across value chains. It is the new normal, which should enable us to market our products online.
“The moment you put products online then there is a global reach which is an advantage. As businesses, we were already moving towards digitalisation but Covid-19 forced us to pace up where we could have taken three years,” Mr Ncube said during the 6th edition of an online economic development outlook- new normal conference hosted by Global Renaissance Investments (GRI).
The conference interrogated the role of digitalisation in economic development at a time the economy is pushing for the fourth industrial revolution agenda.
Mr Ncube said, digitalisation was the way to go for local businesses if they were to stay relevant in the “new normal”.
He said: “Banks have done well and we want this to spread across sectors, retail, insurance and manufacturing for instance.”
Speaking at the same conference, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Henry Ruzvidzo acknowledged Covid-19 had accelerated businesses’ exposure to technology and that failure to embrace it would be detrimental.
“In the future, everyone will be connected, from suppliers to everyone across value chains up to the final consumer. So we will need a lot of technological innovations to enhance efficiency in our businesses,” he said.
He also highlighted the need to support local innovators in their quest to bring solutions to local industry challenges.
Already, the CZI has a sub-committee that focuses on research and development that works with innovators.
“We work with innovators who identify the problems we face and create solutions. If innovators come to organisations like ours (CZI) or ZNCC (Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce), we point them in the (right) direction, because what we want are solutions to businesses.
“We want innovations that improve productivity across sectors and enhance delivery of goods and services to our customers,” said Mr Ruzvidzo.