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The telecoms industry in Morocco at the time of Covid-19:

The telecoms industry in Morocco at the time of Covid-19:

Article written by A. Khaouja and published by the magazine “Industrie du Maroc” in May 2020.

As soon as the first cases of Covid-19 were recorded in early March 2020, Morocco anticipated its related harmful effects, and consequently toke a series of actions. Among these, we could cite the mobilization of the Moroccan industry and national actors affected by the crisis. In the field of the telecom industry, this mobilization manifested itself first in the management of the effects of the lockdown. To that end, and with regard to telecommunications, the National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ANRT), the Digital Development Agency (ADD), telecom operators and manufacturers, suppliers of solutions and equipment have been all mobilized to properly manage traffic of various users and to reconcile teleworking and online education activities, on the one hand, with those of communication and entertainment, on the other hand. Then, we should also remember the contribution of telecommunications and digital technology to improve communication and data exchange between the different entities of the health system and those of other departments affected by Covid-19. Several international actors which are present in Morocco, including Huawei, have participated on the efforts of the country to better manage the pandemic crisis. It is important to stress that the countries which will benefit the most, after this period of Covid-19, would be the first to succeed in restarting and in positioning themselves on the international market, and so the ones which would take the most appropriate orientations and decisions, allowing them to better integrate the new economic order.

This successful integration should begin with an assessment of the issues that will characterize the global economy, in the aftermath of Covid-19, including the mastery of Industry 4.0. This, along with telecommunications, will continue to play a key role in improving high and ultra-fast connectivity, in particular using 5G mobile technology. The key features of this latter, such as high-speed connection, low latency combined with artificial intelligence and cloud technologies, form the basic foundation to best manage pandemics. This technology and Huawei’s cloud platform, based on Artificial Intelligence algorithms, has actually enabled quick and accurate diagnosis and screening of Covid-19 in China. Thus, according to the knowledge acquired from Huawei on Industry 4.0, 5G constitutes an effective means for the remote diagnosis and protection from epidemics and pandemics. Indeed, it allows a smoother collaboration between different medical experts located in different places of a country affected by Covid-19. Mobile carts, thanks to the 5G, can perform remote diagnostics or it can visualize isolated areas, for instance. Robots connected to this new technology can also perform remote temperature measurements or help disinfect public places.In my opinion, and beyond the covid19, Morocco, which is already well positioned in Africa in terms of connectivity and of the implementation of the universal telecom service, should maintain its efforts to further reduce the digital divide, generalizing all technologies including the 5G one. These considerable efforts should be done with a view of ensuring that all citizens, together with the ones in unprofitable areas, have access to teleworking, online education, telemedicine, knowledge and individual development. It therefore seems essentially useful to promote the development of very high-speed broadband to help preserve social participation and promote belonging to the national community.

By Ahmed Khaouja

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