Three years ago, on March 15, Ghana went officially into “lockdown” mode due to the COVID pandemic.
Measures were instituted by President Akufo Addo on 15th March 2020 which included bans on school activities, bans on all social gatherings, and a temporary lockdown and restrictions on the movements of people in the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions of Ghana.
The lockdown lasted for two weeks from 30 March to 19 April 2020.
Due to the lockdown, citizens and companies had to adapt a new way of living which meant some tech innovations came to the forefront. But were some of those trends long lasting in the aftermath of the pandemic?
We’ll take a look:
Growth Of Delivery and Food Apps
Due to the inability of free movement, lots of people had to figure out ways to purchase food and other utilities without being physically present at certain establishments. This presented an opportunity for tech companies to take advantage.
Uber unveiled its package service feature called “Uber Connect” which allowed people to call Ubers to deliver packages to specific locations.
Food delivery apps also flourished during those times with companies like Glovo and Bolt Food being heavy utilised for food delivery. Restaurants and cafes decided to join these network of food delivery apps to have their food items delivered due to the inability to open their establishments to physical customers.
Fast forward to today and most of these trends still continue. Most restaurants are still connected to food apps for fast delivery with apps like NokNok being part of the food delivery network.
E-Commerce Growth and Increase of Online Payments
Online payments increased during the times of lockdown. Use of mobile money skyrocketed for payments of goods and services.
Payment platforms like Paystack and Flutterwave created online store features for users to create free of charge to sell products and services online.
Many citizens resorted to payment using mobile money which resulted in a record GH¢ 571.8 billion (USD 99.67 billion) in mobile money transactions in 2020 alone.
The Promise of Remote Work Was Shortlived
Due to the pandemic, most workers had to work from home, using apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to conduct meetings and check in on work colleagues.
The government implemented a work-from-home platform called “Smart Workplace” which enabled public sector workers including Ministries, Departments, and Agencies to work from home.
The Smart Workplace Portal included access to Microsoft Office applications, document management, Instant Messaging (IM), audio and video conferencing, calendar management, and file storage management.
Many suggested that the lockdown and pandemic would force companies to look more closely at their remote work policies for the future.
But after the pandemic, most companies have instructed their employees to come back to the office full time even though work productivity during the lockdown was fairly normal. At the time of writing, the Government’s Smartwork portal is inaccessible.
The lockdown definitely advanced some areas in tech in Ghana but for the most part, some things were more temporary.
Use of digital payments soared and appears seems to be on an upward trajectory but remote work is still a concept that’s not as widely accepted due to the culture of managers who want to literally keep an eye on employees to make sure they’re productive.
More online delivery services like Shaq Express and Swoove have emerged to help with delivery of goods and food delivery apps are still in high demand.
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