African countries have been faster than European countries in developing new technologies and introducing innovations to combat the coronavirus pandemic, according to the german media.
For African countries, the coronavirus pandemic was not only a disaster, but also a push to develop their own health systems.
According to the German media, Africa was ahead of Europe in developing new technologies to stop the spread of the virus.
Thus, the newspaper notes that in Germany you still have to fill out a printed form and present proof of the coronavirus to travel, while in Zimbabwe border control officials only need a mobile phone to obtain verified people’s data through a QR code.
In 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) studied nearly a thousand new or improved technologies used to fight the coronavirus. It turned out that 120 were originally from Africa, including special WhatsApp bots, contact-tracking apps, or self-diagnosis tools.
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According to an expert in health innovation at the WHO Africa office, the region was able to rapidly develop these technologies thanks to the “inventive spirit” of young people.
In Ghana, meanwhile, the government obtains data on citizens’ movements directly from telecommunications service providers.
At the same time, the expert assured that developers are concerned about protecting citizens’ personal data. However, the expert admitted that if everything had been planned before, many risks could have been avoided and some innovative technologies would have had more users “because data protection is also very important for the adoption of the technology.”
Many African countries, such as Rwanda, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, have long been engaged in technology development thanks to the environment created by governments, such as good infrastructure and a stable internet.
According to the expert, the problem is that many African countries depend on foreign investors, so funds are often scarce. “But we see that many innovations from Africa are being accepted around the world, such as contact tracing applications.”
The expert recalled that before medical tourism was common in the region: those who had money and needed surgery went to France or India. But during the pandemic, travel became impossible and many realized they had to develop their own healthcare system.