Read time: 3 minutes

African women empowered to lead in digital economy

By , Portals editor
South Africa , 27 Jan 2020

African women empowered to lead in digital economy

South African black female-owned digital technology firm SmartDigital Solution is to partner with the African Management Institute and Black Management Forum Sandton to launch the African Women in Digital Leadership Series, a platform designed to empower women to lead in the digital and data economy.

Organisers say the platform will cover leading women in the DRC, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa and will be rotated in different African countries.

The platform is scheduled to be launched in Rivonia, Johannesburg on 6 February 2020 and several speakers are listed to present including Juanita Clark, chief executive officer of FTTx Council Africa, Kholiwe Makhohliso, country head of Software AG, Sello Mmakau, chief executive officer of Afrocentric Technologies, and Thabo Ndlela, chief executive officer of Amani Business Solution.

Speaking to ITWeb Africa ahead of the event, Veronica Motloutsi, chief executive officer of SmartDigital Solution said that digital acumen is the main driver for women to access new markets and become game changers in the workplace.

"We believe that digital technologies offer women the potential to bypass some of the traditional cultural mobility barriers, particularly in emerging and developing countries such as the ones in Africa. Digital technologies can assist women access new markets, work flexibly, acquire and interact with customers and access finance for their ventures."

Motloutsi added that women are at risk of job losses as a result of digitalisation or automisation, but women in leadership across all sectors and markets often possess superior social skills which can benefit the labour market in the digital age.

"It is important to harness skills so that women are not severely impacted. It is predicted that 60% of jobs will be lost in the developed countries as a result of digitisation in the next two decades. It is worth noting that little is known about effects of digitalisation on labour markets in emerging and developing countries. Female social skills advantage could be developed through technology to minimise the impacts."

Motloutsi said that while there are more women entering the ICT sector, the sector is still not inclusive and remains male-dominated.

She feels the situation necessitates programmes like African Women in Digital Leadership, supported by training programmes, to empower women.

"Digitalisation is likely to create a vast variety of new opportunities for entrepreneurship, too. Our goal is to get women to realise their full potential in the digital age. Many of these gender imbalances can effectively be addressed by means of deploying new digital technologies."

In stressing the importance of digitalisation and digital technology in the modern economy – including its role in driving economic growth, job creation and financial inclusion – Motloutsi said it was important that women build the right skills to lead and manage in the digital era.

"Furthermore, collaboration when solving social and business problems (by) leveraging digital technologies such as big data, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and cloud computing. Promoting digital transformation in Africa, particularly to women will maximise our impact in sectors such as health, energy, transport, agriculture, education and facilitating access to basic social services."

Daily newsletter