Microsoft has confirmed its commitment to digital transformation in the public sector in Africa, by bringing together government decision makers from across the continent, at an event in Nairobi, Kenya.
The event, called #DigitalTransformation summit being held on March 6 – 7, seeks to address Microsoft’s mission to empower sectors like agriculture, health, justice, transport, public finance and shared services, through digital transformation. Microsoft will unveil some of the key solutions on offer in the transformation of these verticals.
(TOP: Sammy Itemere, PS, Telecoms and Broadcasting, Ministry of ICT – left – and Kunle Awosika, Country Manager, Microsoft Kenya deliberate at the #DigitalTransformation summit in Nairobi).
“Changing demographics, with a youth bulge in Africa and the rise of millennial workers, mean a greater demand for better, more streamlined services. Most governments and nations in Africa are at the very early stages of digital maturity, but they also have an opportunity to leapfrog ahead as they can invest in cloud and not have to worry about legacy infrastructure,” said Kunle Awosika, Country Manager, Microsoft Kenya. “It is vital that the private and public sectors come together to ensure Africa’s most pressing issues, in areas including health, education and the environment, are addressed through digital transformation”.
Kenya is hosting a two-day event that will explore how cloud-based solutions allow African governments to make sure their infrastructure can not only handle their burgeoning populations, but also actively improve economic health and quality of life for citizens. The discussion will focus on using cloud for social good and how the wave of innovation being unleashed by cloud computing can benefit everyone and ensure nobody is left behind.
Microsoft representatives from across the Middle East and Africa will also focus on transformation within specific sectors, while attendees will have the opportunity to discuss challenges, opportunities and best practices for services such as payments of taxes and bills, applying for government benefits, drivers’ licences and registration of names.
Working sessions will address a number of successful case studies from governments and public services throughout the world:
Agriculture remains an important industry in Africa and with growing populations and food shortages; there’s an opportunity for Africa to make use of its uncultivated, arable land and become the world’s bread basket. There is, however, a persistent need for futuristic agriculture solutions that empower farmers with the capabilities to improve production outputs while minimising cost and preserving resources.
Nour Shwaky, CEO of Agrar Smart Agricultural Solutions, will introduce his smart solutions in this field. These comprehensive and integrated solutions are designed for agriculture commodity utilisation, risk management, market analysis and forecasting.
Public transport in any city is an ecosystem. In emerging cities this ecosystem is complex and requires the coordination of many different stakeholders. Devin de Vries from WhereIsMyTransport will be showcasing his unique transport solution.
By adopting a single, cloud-based platform that can accept data in any format, for any mode of transport, WhereIsMyTransport provides an integrated approach to facilitating real-time communication and engagement between cities, transport operators and passengers. With all data in a single place, cities are able to leverage analytics and reports to optimise their systems. WhereIsMyTransport operates in Africa and other emerging markets and currently has data for over 20 cities in the region.
Another successful digital transformation story is that of Botswana Postal Services (BotswanaPost). BotswanaPost upgraded its entire IT infrastructure with the help of Microsoft Services. In just 18 months, they deployed a private cloud infrastructure, upgraded core infrastructure software and deployed new communications solutions. This resulted in efficient, single-point access to broad expertise, improved employee productivity and a dramatic increase in revenue for Botswana Post through new services.
“By 2020, 25% of the world’s economy will be digital,” Awosika says. “A digitally transformed government will help support informal employment, attract foreign direct investment, improve two-way communications with citizens and automate information sharing in parliament. It is up to government leaders and policy makers across the continent to harness the power of cloud, to transform people’s lives for the better.”
Digital transformation represents the application of Microsoft’s ambitions – the opportunity for government organisations to think and operate like digital companies in the way they engage their citizens, empower their employees, optimise their operations and transform their products.