Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 35 | Page 76

FINAL WORD “ THE CONTINENT’S GROWING POPULATION AND LACK OF LEGACY TECHNOLOGY INFRASTRUCTURE CAN BE TURNED TO AN ADVANTAGE IF COUNTRIES ADOPT NEW TECHNOLOGIES STRAIGHT AWAY. accelerate – promoting growth, inclusion and improving citizen experiences. Similarly, countries across east, west and central Africa such as Nigeria, Kenya and Ivory Coast have plans to accelerate the adoption of advanced technologies to transform and facilitate economic and social inclusion. So, we must enable youth to drive the digital future, use technology to accelerate equality in the workplace and empower gender diversity and champion access and opportunity for all. By cultivating inclusion, we unlock innovation and the ability to thrive and progress. While the importance of digitisation and development of digital economies cannot be overstated, it is also important to recognise that this transformation cannot happen unless the barriers to growth are reduced or even fully removed. From challenges in regulatory policies to lack of infrastructure and basic access to electricity, phones and the Internet – there are still cities and countries in Africa that are more complex that we usually imagine. For instance, access to reliable and high- quality bandwidth is a critical factor in bringing the benefits of technology to businesses and therefore investment in telecommunications infrastructure is key to becoming a digitally enabled economy. opportunities are not only limited to the ICT industry, but also disrupts traditional industries to unlock speed, lower costs, and ensure higher quality. As an example, the banking and finance sector across Africa continues to evolve and transform with several digital banking initiatives being introduced that is increasing financial inclusion. This in turn leads to an increase in a country’s productivity and competitiveness – lowering unemployment rates, increasing access to technology enabled services for citizens and creating higher-wage and higher-impact jobs. Therefore, what organisations and governments need to understand is that Digital Transformation is not a destination, but a never-ending journey. With the right infrastructure, policies and connectivity in place, businesses can expand, jobs can be created, and economic diversification will The continent’s growing population and lack of legacy technology infrastructure can be turned to an advantage if countries adopt new technologies straight away and use them to leapfrog into the 21st century. According to the International Monetary Fund, the digital economy already accounts for more than 5% of gross domestic product (GDP) in some African nations. There is also another aspect of Digital Transformation that is of critical importance and that is around using technology to transform societies. Every economy and country globally and in Africa, are looking for the skills and talent around technology to succeed in the digital world. In summary The digital sector in the Emerging Africa region is poised for success like no other, with the tremendous push for Digital Transformation coming from governments, with the end goal of improving citizen experiences and fueling economic growth. These Digital Transformation agendas represent the nation’s efforts towards unlocking the region’s potential to radically improve healthcare, banking, education and public services, among others. But in order to win in the digital economy, the public and private sector must work together to ensure that the infrastructure, key policy principles and regulatory frameworks are put in place, in order to build an ecosystem of innovation. There is no doubt that technology is changing the ways in which we work, live, and play, and this will only get more evident in the future. This could be more than doubled to 12–20% if countries harness the economic potential of digital technology. We should be excited by the power and potential of technology to change lives for the better and help us move beyond inefficiencies towards inclusive prosperity. Digitisation also spurs the development of new industries as in the case of e-commerce, mobile financial services, IoT, and cloud computing. These contribute to national GDP in multiple ways while also promoting growth of allied industries such as logistics, infrastructure, and payments. These A new chapter in technology-led human progress is within our grasp, waiting to be unlocked. It is simply a matter of choice – do we want to wait and fall behind, or do we want to be the digital disruptors within the context of future emerging economies in the world. n 76 INTELLIGENTCIO Habib Mahakian, Vice-President, Emerging Africa at Dell Technologies