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Africa Business News of Monday, 1 March 2021

Source: theeastafrican.co.ke

Coronavirus accelerated tech adoption by most firms

The Covid-19 global pandemic has resulted in changes to advertising, marketing, promotional and media spend, forcing businesses and brands to re-evaluate their thinking about current and future advertising and marketing campaigns to maintain a steady stream of income.

Most companies with trusted brands managed to leverage on technology during the pandemic to remain afloat over the past nine months during the peak of Covid-19 infections in Africa.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Nation Digital Summit at Sarova Whitesands in Mombasa, Nation Media Group Chief Executive Stephen Gitagama said the company managed to launch the Nation. Africa platform during the pandemic and increased its followers due to the trust the company has built with its clients for many years.

Mr Gitagama said trust in information published in different NMG platforms has earned the company a high number of subscribers after Nation.Africa was launched.

“NMG has moved from a traditional media model in both news and advertising, we are now dealing and collecting revenue directly from users instead of depending only on advertising. The company has also distinguished itself from other fake news agents and it will serve as an example to other companies on using technology to reach a high number of customers,” said Mr Gitagama.

During the summit, attended by delegates from across Africa both from the governments and the private sector, the CEO said the company is engaging well with its customers and getting quick feedback due to an increasing number of subscribers who have reached more than 240,000.

Summit delegates acknowledged that technology has proven to be a vital resource, as work-from-home orders and other directives put in place to contain the spread of the virus disrupted more traditional models of product and service delivery.

Paul Omeno regional co-ordinator of Dr Artificial Intelligence (DrAI), a company dealing with data mining, said firms seeking its services increased, which is an indication that most people were interested in information regarding their companies.

“More people and companies got interested about their social and other data associated with use of technology,” said Mr Omeno.

Information and Communication Technology Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, who also attended the summit, said the Kenyan government will increase internet connectivity across the country to enable use of technology to do business.

“In Kenya, we have made strides in ensuring there is internet coverage even in areas that are not even economically viable in order to end internet connectivity disparity. At the moment, we are at 98 per cent 2G signal coverage while 88 per cent of Kenyans are on 3G,” said Mr Mucheru.

The CS said that to increase fibre optic coverage, the government is working with Kenya Power and Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) to reach populations already covered by the power grid.

On protecting intellectual rights, earmarked as a major threat to the youth, the government is already working to train and incubate the youth to grow their ideas.

“As we move to the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, Kenya should ensure we move with speed to capture the market through the use of technology and we have an advantage because of the large number of young people who are technology savvy,” said the CS.

East Africa Breweries Ltd Head of Media and Future Waithera Kabiru said the company had to re-strategise to ensure its customers are served despite set Covid-19 restrictive measures.

“We had to sustain our advertising using trusted media markets such as NMG to reach our customers,” said Ms Kabiru.

The NMG Head of Development and Learning Churchill Otieno warned participants about the growing problem of fake news and presented on how best to differentiate and debunk such news.

NMG Group Editorial Director Mutuma Mathiu, speaking at the closing ceremony of the two-day summit, said the company is determined on the route it has taken since digital technology is a big thing in Africa.

“We expect a devastation of media since a number will die, but we are certain on the decision the company has made,” said Mr Mathiu.

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