Though the ramifications of Covid-19 can’t be overemphasized, one of Africa’s brightest minds is of the view that the aftermath of the pandemic might be a blessing in disguise for the continent. Nicky Verd “It is forcing us to innovate which is a good thing. It is forcing us to do things differently. It is forcing so many businesses and individuals to think outside the box which is a good thing. In respect to Africa as a continent, I see a lot of innovation happening on the continent because of Covid-19,” Nicky Verd, entrepreneur and keynote speaker told Gospel247. “Last week there was an article in LinkedIn talking about Uganda importing from within Africa and it is something they have not done before. Africa is being forced to look within its borders to do business with each other which is a big advantage because of some of the things that countries are importing. Uganda going to Kenya and other parts of Africa to import what they would have imported from China, for me, it’s a good thing happening within the continent. We can start looking within as Africa to solve our own problems – manufacturing, distribution and all of that.” Nicky, the Johannesburg based businesswoman, who hails from Cameroon, was recognized by Thinkers360 as one of the Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Digital Disruption and the Future of Work. She has traveled the length and breadth of Africa challenging status quo and preaching the gospel of innovation, an essential survival tool for businesses and individuals. “Covid-19 calls for everyone to constantly look for ways to innovate. Look for ways to embrace the new normal or the change we are dealing with. For some people have lost their jobs. Others have their hours cut and their salaries have been severely impacted. So the question, for me, that people should be asking is what’s next? How do I change? How do I adapt? With those kind of questions being asked, the mind is forced to look for ways in which we can adapt,” says the author of Disrupt Yourself or be Disrupted. For Africa to experience progress and shrug off the number of challenges the continent faces, there’s a need for a paradigm shift. Nicky feels there must be an overhaul of the education system in African countries. “What is happening at school is that the curriculum is completely outdated. The second problem is the mindset that you come out of school and you get a job. Now that is not going to be possible because with technology taking over so fast, it means corporates are going to operate with less humans and more machines. That is the reality nobody can pray this away. Nobody can protest this away. No labour union is strong enough to stop this rise of the machines. This is our reality. Without covid-19 happening, we still had the problem of technology to deal with. Right now they are happening simultaneously which makes it even more dangerous,” she said. “Because of what covid-19 is doing, it means the acceleration from human to machines is going to happen even faster than it would have happened if Covid-19 did not happen. Hopefully governments are seeing what is happening in the world and they’re looking to do things differently by empowering Africans with relevant education.” With her book – Disrupt Yourself or be Disrupted, Nicky Verd has done meticulous work in putting together what can turn out to be a survival guide for businesses and individuals.