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Digitalisation – an enabler not disruptor says Siemens

By , ITWeb
Africa , 08 Dec 2016

Digitalisation – an enabler not disruptor says Siemens

Digital in Africa is poised to happen in small, isolated areas unless governments drive overarching policies to ensure consistency of standards.

This is according to the African Digitalisation Maturity Report released by global tech firm Siemens which has found that disruptive technology drives development rather than disruption and in Africa, true innovation comes from necessity.

The Report was organised to better determine a digitalisation benchmark across four countries namely Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, as well as key vertical industries including transport, manufacturing and energy.

CEO Siemens Southern Africa Sabine Dall'Omo says the four countries were selected as some of the fastest growing economies in Africa, as well as having made great strides in ICT (Information and Communications Technology) adoption.

"Africa's rapid urbanisation represents an immense opportunity for the extension of ICT and improvement of digital maturity to help urban hubs such as Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi and Addis Ababa cope with the influx of inhabitants.

"There is an opportunity for government as well as the private sector to roll out services for digital access and use, exactly as they do with traditional basic services infrastructure," says Dall'Omo.

To Siemens digitalisation means using technologies like data analytics, the cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) to merge the virtual and real worlds. The company believes this equates to faster time-to-market, greater flexibility and enhanced availability of products and systems.

The report measures the extent to which each country has a business, legal and regulatory environment that supports and protects the development of digitalisation in key industries. This includes indicators such as the overall ease of doing business, the presence and regulation of ICT-related laws, the protection of intellectual property and evidence of ICT-related innovation and start-up activities.

Quality of infrastructure indicators include access to international bandwidth, mobile-network coverage, internet and mobile phone penetration and the costs of broadband and mobile-phone access.

Kenya ahead

According to Siemens while Ethiopian and Kenyan economies are of a similar size and are growing at similar rates, Kenya is ahead in terms of digital maturity.

"This is attributed to the country having far more extensive ICT infrastructure and mobile internet or 3G infrastructure to access and secondly because it is much more diverse and services-oriented economy, which typically drives the expansion of digital services," says Siemens.

The company adds that Nigeria has a relatively undiversified trade profile beyond oil and is therefore highly reliant on imported technology, however it is benefitting from extensive investment in ICT, including 3G network coverage and is expanding into hardware manufacturing and software development.

"South Africa with its relatively large and diverse economy and extensive and high quality mobile broadband infrastructure, remains the leader of the four countries in most areas," says Siemens.

The manufacturing, energy and transport industries showed varied levels of maturity and was reviewed based on the culture of innovation, digital operations and digital customer and offerings, according to the report.

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