Kenyans spend Sh16.2bn on remote working gadgets


A woman working from the comfort of her house. PHOTO | COURTESY

Kenyan families and businesses spent Sh16.29 billion in the first seven months of Covid restrictions to import telecommunications equipment such as laptops, smartphones, computers and networking devices to set up remote work stations.

The expenditure in April-October 2020 was Sh7.45 billion, or 84.28 percent, more than the Sh8.84 billion reported in a similar period a year earlier, according to provisional data collated by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

The social-distancing guidelines to stem the spread of coronavirus, which first struck on March 13, have not only altered workplaces, but also the way meetings are conducted.

As a result, companies and workers prioritised investment in IT-enabled infrastructure to facilitate remote working and meetings, a trend corporate executives said is here to stay.

The guidelines have resulted in most corporate meetings and seminars being conducted on video-conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, BlueJeans and Cisco Webex.

Such meetings require laptops or desktop computers or smartphones fitted with networking gadgets to connect.

“The pandemic has been a technological equaliser of sorts, where people previously unaccustomed to using technology in the workplace have had no choice but to adapt,” Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) executive director Jacqueline Mugo told the Business Daily in a recent interview.

“Companies have quickly figured out how to serve their customers and clients remotely, and there is no going back.”

Ministry of Health data shows coronavirus disease had by Wednesday infected 97,398.