Digitilisation; a hedge against COVID-19 impact

  • Provides flexibility, convenience and safety in the face of COVID-19
  • Investment in technological structure helped BancABC realise growth in earnings
  • Zoom rose to prominence during the COVID-19 era

With the world reeling from the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), innovation has become the priority for businesses across the world to ensure continuity of operations whilst adhering to safety precautions.

In these changing times, digitilisation has become central where corporates are finding the need to equip employees with tech-devices so that they can work remotely, thus solving the inconvenience of travelling to work stations.

A look at the recently released financial results and trading update by companies operating in Zimbabwe shows the ever-growing need to go digital as a key component towards the ease of doing business.

In 2018, FBC chief executive John Mushayavanhu must have been so proficient ahead of time when he said, “…as an institution if you’re not going to adopt the digital way of business, you could easily be out of business”.

A look into the Zimbabwe market shows that the race towards digitilisation has been gaining momentum pre-COVID-19 era especially on the banking sector driven by the need to answer problems related to cash shortages. As a result, digitilisation became a new battleground for Banks who are continuously innovating to substitute the need for cash transactions.

In a forward-looking statement accompanying financial report for the half-year ended 30 June 2020, People’s Own Savings Bank (POSB), hindered on the importance of advancing digital transformation to meet the market demands.

The Bank’s acting board chairperson Israel Ndlovu said, “Despite the anticipated economic challenges ahead the Bank will continue to create value for its shareholders by identifying opportunities for improvement and growth by focusing on the ongoing digitilisation of its platforms in line with the Bank’s digitally-focused business model.

“This will be done in order to minimize costs of serving customers and at the same time provide flexibility, convenience and safety to the Bank’s clients in the face of COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

Investment in technological structure also yielded positive gains for BancABC (Zimbabwe) Limited helping the Bank to record a ZW$30 million profit after tax during the half-year period to 30 June 2020.

During that period, BancABC launched Branch X, a virtual branch partnered with Vaya Logistics to deliver Dial-A-Visa and took the unusual step of extending operating hours so that Zimbabweans could access remittances for critical supplies.

Meanwhile, NMB Bank Limited launched NMB Connect Online which will replace the old Internet Banking System, NMB Direct. Commenting on the latest offering, the Bank said, “We are confident that with more banking control that NMB Connect Online offers, you will be able to conduct your banking business with minimal need to visit our branches”.

The growth in technological innovation is not just happening in the local market but is well documented all over the word. Zoom for instance, has become a popular application across the globe as it has become a go to platforms for business meetings, academic classes, church sermons and even social interactions.

The economic trends and the ongoing COVID-19 reflect the importance of embracing digitilisation as a hedge against the headwinds.