As of 2021, thousands of digital technologies were deployed globally to help households, SMEs, and governments maintain economic activities and access to health care during the pandemic. These innovations encompassed e-health interventions, covering issues such as health staff training or child-maternal health promotion, but also new technologies with a strong impact on transportation, transaction and information costs and thereby on poverty reduction, gender issues and so forth. These technologies cover areas such as digital marketplaces, digital financial services, logistic supply-chain applications, or digital communication software. This session aimed at discussing how such digital technologies have helped households, firms and administrations cope with the consequences of the pandemic, but also with other types of adverse shocks.
After acknowledging that digital infrastructure should be a complement to traditional infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa, and not a complete solution, speakers went on to highlight many of the benefits that it can provide.
From helping students in Botswana stay connected to their educational environment when schools were shut due to COVID-19 to utilising digital payments to reduce the risk of thefts from producers during harvest season, attendees heard how digital technologies are helping communities deal with day-to-day problems and adverse shocks.