from WELLINGTON TONI in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – VIRTUAL meetings and online shopping are taking root in Zimbabwe as there seems to be no end in sight to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic wreaking havoc around the world.
Zimbabwe has not been spared the ravages of the virus, with four deaths from 387 cases as of the beginning of the week.
The virus could not have come at a worse time for an economy that has been struggling for years.
Amid the scourge, companies cannot afford to fold and are making the most of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to remain afloat.
Among such companies is the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE)-listed Padenga Holdings, which recently held its annual general meeting virtually.
Padenga is part of the Innscor Africa conglomerate and runs crocodile ranches in the prime resort area of Victoria Falls and Texas in the United States of America.
Its virtual AGM over the Zoom platform comes as the global threat of COVID-19 has made it impossible for business to conduct normal operations.
Physical meetings are greatly prohibited under the lockdown imposed by the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa in April.
Lee Masuka, the Managing Director of Click n’ Pay, said it was unavoidable for big companies to continue operating since constant trading updates with their shareholders are needed.
As such, most companies have expanded services by having some of their employees working from home while others are physically at work,” Masuka told CAJ News in an interview.
“This creates a need for ICT service providers to market their products and grow. Working online, Zoom meetings and even online shopping are the new order of the day,” Masuka added.
While Click n’ Pay has mainly been involved in ticketing for events, the COVID-19 outbreak has prompted it to evolve. Most events are prohibited under lockdown.
It has added to its portfolio fuel and electricity coupons, internet conferencing facilities and online shopping to tap into the fourth industrial revolution.
Dr Jenfran Muswere, the Minister of ICT, Postal and Courier Services, said the advent of the COVID-19 plague had accelerated the need for more ICT related products and services in the Southern African country.
“Zimbabwe will not be left behind in this as we were already on a trajectory to expand ICT services across the country,” Muswere said.
– CAJ News