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Corporate Africa vs. the unvaccinated



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Corporate Africa vs. the unvaccinated
By get.Africa Weekly • Issue #85 • View online
That’s “good morning” in Xhosa
With nearly 13,000 people on its payroll, Discovery is a leader in health insurance and financial services in South Africa. The company recently mandated every one of its employees to get vaccinated by 1 January 2022. Or else…
Africa might be lagging the world in vaccination rates — and there are legal challenges to actually implementing such a mandate — but that hasn’t stopped businesses around the continent, like Discovery, from reading the riot act to their employees yet to get vaccinated.
Oh, look, a bird!
Discovery claims that it is “legally” and “morally” obligated to implement the mandatory vaccination policy and that its approach was: 
“in line with major multinationals, including Google, Facebook, Netflix, Walmart, and Disney.”
But for many organizations, especially in Africa, vaccination isn’t actually about legality or morality. As the remote work experiment draws to a close, many are simply searching for ways to get workers back on their desks without them kicking and screaming. 
If you take a look at studies on remote work, you’ll notice that they are mostly conducted from the point of view of the employees. And for this group, the last few months have mostly gone well.  
According to this study on productivity in the workplace: 
  • 30% of South African employees said their productivity had increased as a result of working from home.
  • 37% of employees prefer to work at home on a full-time basis, 
  • Whilst 30% of employees prefer going to the office at least 2-3 times a week.
But you won’t find many studies asking employers how they, too, feel about worker productivity. And whether they, too, are ready for this short-term adjustment to become a long-term switch.
Can’t leapfrog this
That readiness typically depends on two factors:
1. First, an organization’s state before the remote work experiment. All organizations aren’t created equal. On one end of the spectrum, there are the digital laggards — where digital technology is an afterthought, and on the other end, there are digital leaders — where it is used by default. In the last few months, companies closer to the laggard end undoubtedly found remote work far more challenging than companies closer to the leader end. 
2. The second factor affecting readiness is how much an organization has allowed the remote work experiment to transform its operations. If at the start of the experiment, an organization was low on the spectrum, and its position hasn’t changed since then, do you really think management will be excited about the long-term prospects of remote/hybrid work? 
The truth is that far more organizations in Africa occupy the lower end than the higher end. According to some estimates, less than 8% of South African companies are digital leaders.  
Also, the cost of digital transformation is often so high that returning to the status quo often becomes too tempting to overlook. 
That’s the reason why, for organizations mandating their employees to get vaccinated, the true test of intention would be whether they continue remote/hybrid work despite the vaccine mandate or if they ask all their employees to return to the office because of it.

get.Africa is a weekly roundup of the most important stories in African tech. To support, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our YouTube channel, share this issue or send us an email. You can also check our archives.
What's the Big Deal?
Bumpa raises a $200k pre-seed round to build Shopify for Africa.
+ZAR Australia’s Zip acquires South African BNPL startup Payflex for an undisclosed sum. What it means for the rest of the continent.
+ USh Ugandan e-Logistics platform Ridelink raises $150k pre-seed funding.
+ZAR Prosus makes a $4.7 billion bet on online payments in India with BillDesk acquisition.
Watch + Listen
How a South African Tech Journalist Cofounded QAnon
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+ Reads
+ South African regulator vs. Binance: South African regulator FSCA has issued a warning against crypto exchange Binance, to which Binance quickly responded: “We don’t recognize your authority anyway”. 
+ Progressive regulation: Meanwhile, in Nigeria, SEC continues to set itself apart as a progressive regulator as it creates a special division to study the crypto market, despite the CBN sanction.
+ CBDC Watch: The announcement that the e-Naira will be developed by a foreign partner caused a lot of fuss. But a look around the continent indicates that Ghana’s e-Cedi is being developed with German partners and the South African central bank is working with Deloitte and Accenture. Assuming the selection processes all went through a tender, surely this is a question of local competence?
+ Late to the party: While Twitter and LinkedIn shelve their stories feature, M-PESA is picking their’s up.
+ Nigerian telco woes: The Nigerian government orders telcos to shut down mobile services in troubled state. That’s more bad news for a sector that already lost 11.5m mobile users in last year due to another government policy.
Overheard on Twitter
Nigerian Founder
If you think you’re among top 20 Nigerians in Quantum AI computing, DM me and I’ll hire you.
I'm writing a book on remote work for African businesses
I'm writing a book on remote work for African businesses
+ To make whiteboard animation videos like this for educational or marketing purposes, please send us an email.
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