Cloud, connectivity and digital transformation should be Africa’s top three priorities
Cloud migration, digital transformation and connectivity that takes access to every part of the continent should be the top three priorities for African governments moving towards the 4IR.
This is according to Siya Madyibi, Executive Director: Corporate, External and Legal Affairs at Microsoft South Africa, who was speaking ahead of GovTech 2022.
Madyibi notes that a great deal has changed since the last in-person GovTech, which was held in 2019 ahead of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Microsoft has been in a partnership with SITA for the past five years, and has been the headline sponsor of GovTech for four years. This forum is arguably the biggest and most important IT event in Africa, bringing together over 2,500 government representatives, IT experts and OEMs for mindsharing and decision making. What makes the 2022 event so exciting is that this is the first time these stakeholders will have an opportunity to regroup after the pandemic. A lot has changed since the last event,” he says.
GovTech gets underway at the Durban Exhibition Centre from 13 to 15 September 2022, with the theme ‘Reshaping the citizen experience through enhanced service delivery’, focusing on Africa’s efforts to play a leading role in the 4th Industrial Revolution.
He notes: “One of the things the pandemic accelerated was the use of digital platforms, and many governments were caught unawares by the changing requirements and had to play catch up. As we meet at GovTech 2022, we are now at a stage where government acceleration of digitisation and online services is taking place. There is a great deal to discuss around how collaboratively all, should move forward to sustain the transformation of government, and democratise technology to extend the benefits to the majority of the population.”
Madyibi says the pandemic also exposed the digital divide, variabilities in infrastructure, and cyber security vulnerabilities. “With so many people and platforms online, vulnerabilities and infrastructure shortfalls were exposed. We need to close the gaps,” he says.
The issue of connectivity is high on everyone’s minds and likely to be an important topic at GovTech, Madyibi says. “In order to democratise technology, we have to ensure that connectivity reaches even the most remote areas – through pan-African networks and better use of TV white spaces, which we have championed. We now have an opportunity to deploy new technologies to ensure all citizens have access and benefit from improved service delivery."
Another talking point, which should be a top priority for governments, is digital transformation, he says. “Through transformation, governments need to enable not just revenue collection, but also access to services for all citizens.”
A top priority for enabling transformed service delivery should be cloud, Madyibi believes. “The cloud is potentially the most revolutionary technology of the past decade. We see it enabling the private sector to go into high drive, but there is still a reluctance in some government departments to move to the cloud. This may be due to regulatory reasons, a lack of skills, or concerns around privacy and security. At GovTech, Microsoft experts will be on site to engage and understand the challenges holding government CIOs back, and discuss how we can help them accelerate the journey,” he says.
Microsoft has a deep-seated and lengthy partnership with governments, working with them across cloud, education solutions, security clusters and the provision of services. Microsoft has also invested heavily in developing SMMEs to serve as an extension of the company to deliver services and solutions to support governments.
For more information about GovTech 2022, visit https://www.govtech.gov.za/