It took a global pandemic and stay-at-home orders for 1.5 billion people worldwide, but something is finally occurring to us: The future we thought we expected may not be the one we get.
We know that things will change; how they’ll change is a mystery. To envision a future altered by coronavirus, Quartz asked dozens of experts for their best predictions on how the world will be different in five years.
Below is an answer from Sola Yomi-Ajayi, the CEO of United Bank for Africa, America. She has more than 25 years of experience in the financial sector.
The coronavirus pandemic was not anticipated, it came like a bad storm in the middle of the night and took the world by surprise. The havoc that has so far been wreaked by the Covid-19 pandemic cuts across all sectors and all walks of life. Top on the list is the direct impact it has had on human life and lifestyles— travel and logistics, employment, food security, education, health, real estate, and entertainment.
Throughout the pandemic, there has been one constant: technology. Technology has played a significant role in bringing people together in ways not previously thought to be possible. Virtual meetings have become favorable as more shoppers have had to opt for online browsing and purchases. Celebrations have moved successfully online—weddings, graduations, birthdays, and even funerals. Tech companies are winning!
Over the next five years, I expect to see radical and disruptive innovations in technology platforms to the extent that the Zooms and Microsoft Teams of today will look dated in five years’ time. There will be massive investments in technology, which will result in more lifestyle- and experience-driven technology solutions. With the acceptance of remote work across the world, technology will play a major role in employment going forward. Job mobility will be easier. Borders will no longer matter, nor will work permits or flights and relocations.
Technology will transform the educational system. Distance learning will be scaled up into the new era as even local learning offers options to study from home through experiential virtual classrooms. This, I feel, will offer more opportunities for more people to benefit from higher and tertiary education.
Similarly, technology will transform the global supply chain to ensure that there are no more disruptions to supply as there were during the Covid-19 pandemic. It will also lead to a shift in the global supply chain with new corridors of supply discovered, possibly on the African continent, as the world shifts away from its dependence on China. United Bank for Africa is present in 20 sub-Saharan African countries, France, the UK and US. Given our unique geographical spread and our well-acclaimed digital banking capabilities, we are well positioned to provide best-in-class digital solutions to the supply chain financing needs of the future.
In five years’ time, our lives will be dominated by technology. The future is technology.
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