BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA

POSTAL and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) director-general Gift Machengete has applauded the use of digital technology during the COVID-19 pandemic as it facilitated communication and transactions at a time mobility was restricted.

Addressing a ministerial roundtable meeting at the ongoing International Telecommunications Union Digital World 2020 conference in Geneva, Switzeland, Machengete said the pandemic had seen increased use of digital technologies.

He said the prevailing high use of digital technologies would certainly continue in the future as it brought convenience and ease of doing business.

“During the COVID–19 pandemic, digital technologies have been used to ensure continuity in government, in business, in trade and in education,” Machengete said.

“Furthermore, digital technologies have been used for information dissemination, for forecasting which is required for planning purposes and for contact tracing which is essential in stopping the spread of the virus.”

Machengete said the government had relied on online platforms to disseminate information, create awareness and debunk fake news and these online platforms would continue to be used to disseminate information even after COVID-19.

He said several governments had also relied on digital applications that provide artificial intelligence to forecast the spread of the virus and impact of the pandemic, allowing planning and implementation of appropriate mitigation measures for COVID-19 as well as predict future occurrence of pandemics of similar nature.

“While physical business interactions were stopped during the various lockdowns, business did not come to a halt as people held virtual meetings, cutting on costs associated with physical meetings,” Machengete said.

He added: “Virtual business meetings will certainly continue after the pandemic. This trend of working from home is likely to be the new normal even after the pandemic as companies can save on rentals and utilities.

“It is predicted that a number of virtual schools will be established after the pandemic and as such the various online learning platforms popularised by COVID-19, will remain relevant after the pandemic.”

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