COVID-19 Did Not Come To Halt Economies But To Create Opportunities


May 4, 2021, 2:04 p.m.

Digital Times Africa Leads Conversation on Africa’s Digital Future

Digital Times Africa, a startup that provides a platform promoting African innovation, has ended its two-day conversation on the theme, “Accelerating Digital Africa Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

“The pandemic has undoubtedly led many people to think that economies have been halted and daily operations distorted but critically speaking, the pandemic has by far created many opportunities,” says Norbert Dziwornu, CEO of Startup Accra during Africa’s Digital Future summit.

On record, those sailing above the effect of the pandemic are individuals and organizations that are tapping into these opportunities and are leveraging technology and digital tools for such.

We can talk about Jeff Bezos whose coffers increased by $75 billion in 2020, according to Bloomberg's Billionaire Index. Bezos's net wealth climbed through 2020 as Amazon shares skyrocketed, due to the rise in online shopping.

The founder of the video-conferencing platform Zoom grew his nest egg by over $2.5 billion, and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's net worth increased by $15.7 billion.

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson saw his wealth increase by $5 billion, while Elon Musk saw an increase of $17.2 billion. When you add up the numbers, billionaires in the United States have increased their total net worth by $637 billion during the COVID-19 pandemic so far.

These examples might lead you to think that it is possible only outside the African continent but that is pseudo. These are stories Digital Times Africa wants to herald by leading such conversations, to influence change in the dynamics of Africa's Digital ecosystem.

Along this line, 20+ speakers with diverse technological backgrounds and African studies touched on insightful topics such as (Growing with Digital, Digital Security, Building A Digitally Enabled Africa, Digitalization Post-pandemic, Digital Policies, etc.)

The panelist included

  • Cyhana Williams - Program Manager, Microsoft,
  • Olugbenga Ogunbowale - Group CEO, E-Power,
  • Foster Awintiti Akugri - President, Hacklab Foundation,
  • Judith Hooper - Community Lead, Yaa W,
  • Cecil Nutakor- CEO, eCampusLLC,
  • Udeh Chinenye - CEO, Smart Kids Africa
  • Peace Itimi (Growth Mentor, Seedstars),
  • Blessing Abeng (Director of Comms, Ingressive for Good),
  • Arnold Sarfo-Kantanka - Future of Ghana,

The others are Chief Executive,

  • CK Bruce - CEO, Innovare
  • Cynthia Antwi - Digital Development Practitioner
  • Kwabena Owusu - Ecosystem Associate, Ghana Tech Lab,
  • David Kankam - Head, Card Businesses, eTranzact Ghana,
  • Gameli Adzaho - (Regional Manager (Africa) Just One Giant Lab,
  • Dr. Thomas Tagoe - Co-Founder GhScientific,
  • Harry Akligoh - Co-Founder, Hive Bio-Lab,
  • Marc Alain Boucicault - CEO, Banj,
  • Norbert Dziwornu - CEO Startup Accra
  • Phillip Oduro Twum - Technology Consultant. KPMG
  • Eric Kwaku Mensah - Head, Technical Operation, E-Crime Bureau

The discussion centered paramountly on the need for more laboratory spaces for startups and enough funding for them to function effectively. Startups are in a unique position where they can reach success on a massive scale when provided with the right direction and support. This leads to the need for access to the internet to increase startup visibility and lead generation.

Amongst the numerous insightful subjects touched on, these were other thoughts shared by the speakers;

"If we can change from our old ways of doing things to new ways, we can scale up our business operations" - David Kankam

"We need to be more inclusive especially with blockchain and cryptocurrency" - Arnold Sarfo-Kantanka

"We are at a stage where everybody needs to put in effort irrespective of where you sit at the global ecosystem"- Cynthia Antwi

"The future of work is the ability to work in any part of the world without being locally confined" - Peace Itimi

"Two key factors affect the future of work which are, adoption of artificial intelligence and expansion of workforce" - Blessing Abeng

"One of the biggest impacts of the pandemic was, putting scientific research in the fast lane" - Dr. Thomas Tagoe

"Most investors will prefer to support payment startups because they are easy to scale" - Phillip Twum

"The payment space is beginning to get saturated with payment startups" - Phillip Twum

"We have to get to a level where we develop home-grown tools for ourselves as Africans" - Eric Mensah

"It is important that businesses take cybersecurity so serious that when building any IT infrastructure, they implement cybersecurity protocols to mitigate any attack" - Eric Mensah

"30 African countries lack the legal framework to fight cybercrime" - C.K Bruce

You can click these links for the entire session




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Verny Joy Author

Verny loves to write poetry, fiction and quotes. Her love for writing landed her in journalism. She loves gadgets and travelling to explore new places.