AfricaCom 2018 shows us that technology really is the key to African growth
By Llewellyn le Hané, Green Enterprise Solutions (Pty) Ltd
As Green, we were privileged to be the only Namibian ICT-company to be an exhibitor at AfricaCom 2018, just as we had been last year. We shared the booth with Submer whose Submer Smartpod is a green (environmentally green) solution for datacenter cooling, great to be partnering with such a cutting-edge technology company. What struck me at AfricaCom this year as it had in previous years is how professional it was and how quickly the ICT-sector is maturing across Africa. The event brought together 14,000 attendees, 450 speakers and 400 exhibitors. This is great and a story worth telling in itself, but it made me think of where we are heading as a continent, but especially as Namibia when it comes to technology.
We saw technology and innovative solutions to problems, companies and organisations from across Africa showing there are real solutions to our challenges that our continent faces. Work arounds and solutions to challenges like Wi-Fi connectivity issues in rural areas, financial technology (FinTech) developments which go way beyond EFT (Electronic Financial Transfers), and even something as seemingly simple as Mobile Money, sending airtime, crypto-currencies. Which smart companies have tailormade for our degree of smartphone, internet and web-access penetration and adoption.
Everything that was tangibly connected to ICT was present and covered at the exhibition; whether it was connectivity infrastructure, disruptive technologies, digital services or ICT strategy. Highlighting the importance of the event, our very own Deputy Minister of ICT, Engel Nawatiseb, attended the event. He took time to meet with Green at our stand which of course, was an excellent opportunity to engage with the Honourable Deputy Minister about all issues ICT.
The challenges Namibia faces at present are myriad and can in part be resolved or mitigated by implementing tech-solutions, embracing innovation and really pursuing an ICT-driven agenda. Not just to develop and seek solutions in sectors that already implement technology and innovation, but also in sectors that have perhaps not been as quick to embrace technology. Due to lack of resources, funds, knowledge or simply access to these technologies. The AfricaCom 2018 event showed what is out there, what we locally across the continent are capable of achieving and rolling out.
We simply need to cease being cautious and standing on the side-line and dare to take the leap and become fully committed to using ICT and innovation to propel our academic, agricultural, fishing, financial, manufacturing, healthcare and service sectors and industries. It can also be a catalyst to decrease bureaucracy, increase efficiency and counter fraud and corruption. It is my firm belief that we as Namibia can only turn the corner economically and create the future we all want and dream of for Namibia if we work together in the public and private sector and champion ICT development. The AfricaCom 2018 was the perfect event to propel us into action and move forward quickly and decisively.