INCREASING digitalisation is critical for Southern African Development Community (Sadc) countries to minimize disturbances to the development of industry as a result of Covid-19.
The Vice President of Malawi, Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima, said this in a recent Sadc public lecture on industrial digitalisation where he stressed the need for scaling up regional collaboration in driving innovation in various sectors to foster development.
He called for the strengthening of Sadc member States’ capacities and exploring possibilities of establishing a regional centre of excellence on digital technology.
“Covid-19 has provided impetus for innovation and development of technologies for continuation of business amidst the pandemic,” said Dr Chilima, a former chief executive officer for Airtel Malawi.
His lecture was delivered under the theme: “Promoting Digitalisation for the Revival of the Sadc Industrialisation Agenda in the Covid-19 Era”, taking into account the disruptive impact of the pandemic on regional supply chains.
Malawi took over the rotational chairmanship of the Sadc bloc during the recent 41st Ordinary Sadc Summit, which was held in Lilongwe. The regional summit has also buttressed the need for Sadc countries to tap into digital opportunities as part of the industrial transformation focus.
The lecture attracted a wide range of panelists from Malawi and the wider region, including NEPAD – African Development Agency chief executive officer Dr Ibrahim Mayaki and director of technology, climate change and natural resources at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Mr Jean-Paul Adam.