By Amrote Abdella, Regional Director of Microsoft 4Afrika
At a recent conference in Johannesburg, a young college student posed a question to the Presidency of South Africa: “If we are introducing into basic education new subjects to be competitive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, like coding, why do we have ministers of education that are over 60?”
It was an interesting glimpse into the mind of a demographic most impacted by the digital era. If you look at anydigitally transforming organisation, what sets the leaders apart is not just a clear digital strategy, but a culture and leadership poised to execute it. Employees today expect business leadersto be nimble, embracing digital tools to remain competitive and make strategic decisions with the future in mind.
Thisstudent’s questiondemonstrates that the expectation on governmentsis no different. As African countries work to become global leaders in the digital revolution, young people are looking for a tech-savvyand digitally mature governmentto boldly set the standards, andlead the way.
The benefits of a digitally skilled government
The benefits of a digitally-savvy government are many. Armed with technologies and the capabilities to use them, governments are empowered to be moreagile, efficient, data-driven, transparentand connected to citizens. With machine learning and skills in data analytics, policy makers can be more forward-thinking, regularly re-examining policies, discovering new opportunities and mitigating risks for more productive and inclusive growth.
A Deloitte digital survey also found thatpublic sector leaders who understand digital trends and technologies are three times more likely to provide appropriate support for transformation, compared to those who do not. High levels of involvement with technology typically result in greater investment, broader adoption and a greater number of successful implementations.
In a recent IFC report, Africawasnoted as having a slow and insufficient policy response to digital transformation.Respondents called for accelerated efforts in developing clear-cut digital agendas. This includes modernizing school curriculum, training teachers, expanding broadband access,promoting avibrant business climate by encouraging competition, and enforcing cybersecurity.Today, resources such as the AI Business School geared specifically towards government can be the first stop for governments looking to upskill their employees.
With more digital champions in government,imagine how much more rapidly Africa could implementthis transformation and advance its position as a leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
In 2018, for example, the United Arab Emirates announced its intention to become the world’s most prepared country for artificial intelligence, leading in AI research, development and innovation. To do so, they began efforts at government level,appointingthe first dedicated Minister of AI. The effort was applauded for ensuring “a necessary focus for implementation as opposed to just talking” and ensuring solutions are based on the latest understanding of technology.
Taking the lead in digital transformation
For Africa to truly succeed – and lead – in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, innovative startups, technology companies and smart businesses need to collaborate on building an ecosystem where everyone benefits from technology. Leading this charge needs to be progressive governments with clear roadmaps that both define and enable the digital horizon.
Countries like Morocco are well on their way, through initiatives including the Maroc 2020 Digital strategy. But, as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) points out, the success of this strategy depends on government capacity to prioritize, plan, manage and monitor ICT investments. Governments need to focus on attracting, retaining and upskilling qualified ICT professionals in the public sector workforce that can cope with the complexities of the new policy environment.
Undoubtedly today, the most critical area of investment by governments needs to be skills development in order to sustainably grow their emerging digital economies. The time for skilling was yesterday. The next best time is today.
CBN Pulls Rate Cut Trigger, King Dollar Returns
By Lukman Otunuga, Senior Research Analyst at FXTM,
In a move that caught investors off-guard this week, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) slashed interest rates by 100 basis points bringing the MPR to 11.5%. Given how inflation has been above target since 2015, rates were expected to remain unchanged for the rest of 2020 and possibly early 2021.
The question on the mind of many is whether the rate cut will achieve the desired effect by stimulating consumption and economic growth? Ongoing border closures and disruptions created by COVID-19 have pushed inflation to levels not seen since March 2018 above 13.20% while a drop in the production and price of Oil continues to rub salt into the wound. While looser monetary policy could support growth, it may come at the cost of rising inflation and weaker Naira.
Over the past few months, central banks across the globe have deployed unprecedented measures to defend their respective economies against the coronavirus menace. However, fiscal policy has been identified as the sharper tool with governments across the world providing a critical lifeline to keep the wheels of their respective economies rolling.
Outside of Nigeria, King Dollar made a return by appreciating against every single G10 currency. In times of uncertainty, everyone wants a juicy piece of the world’s most liquid currency. As coronavirus cases rise in Europe and other parts of the world, the flight to safety is likely to boost appetite for the Dollar. This is bad news for many emerging markets currencies, especially those with high Dollar-denominated debt.
On the commodity side, Oil prices remain heavily influenced by demand-side factors and the state of the global economy. Prices are likely to remain stuck around the $40 regions in the near term, especially If another round of possible lockdowns hit Oil demand. Looking at the technicals, WTI Crude is under pressure on the daily charts. If prices are unable to break away from the sticky $40 regions, the next key point of interest remains around $38. A weekly close above $41.50 could pave a path towards $43.
NCC Arrests Man for Hacking into DSTV System
Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC), has arrested one Mr Aliu Olalekan, for allegedly hacking into DSTV system and watching the channels free without subscription.
Mr Matthew Ojo, NCC Director in the Lagos Directorate Office said this while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, on Tuesday.
He said that the suspect used to watch DSTV channels free without subscription on his Android phone via an app which he downloaded on google play store.
“This suspect distributed the know-how to his telegram followers and on his blog with the aim of gaining more followers and viewership on his blog and makes more money through google ad-sense.
“The operation was based on surveillance which had earlier been carried out by the Multi-choice team and verified by a copyright inspector, ” he said.
He added that the arrest was made in collaboration with a team of copyright inspectors led by the Head of Enforcement Department, Mr Charles Amudipe.
Others included; a team from Multichoice Nigeria led by Mr Umar Ibrahim and policemen from Lagos Command Headquarters, Ikeja.
Ojo said that the joint team conducted an anti-piracy operation at the premises of the culprit in Amukoko, Lagos.
According to him, the suspect was contacted on phone by a member of the operation team on the disguise of patronising him. “The suspect came out to meet the caller and in the process of discussion, he was apprehended.
“The suspect took the team to his resident. The squad paraded his one-room apartment and recovered his laptop and phones used in perpetrating the ungodly act. “He was arrested and brought to the copyright commission office for further investigation, ” he said.
Ojo said that, on getting to the commission’s office, the statement of the suspect was taken and the inventory of items seized from him taken. He said that investigation on the matter was still ongoing and if found guilty the suspect will be charged to court.
NCC, Digital Encode Support NITRA Innovative Tech Forum On Post-COVID-19 Strategies
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator and Digital Encode, Cybersecurity and Compliance advisory company, have indicated interest to partner with the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), the national umbrella body of ICT reporters, as it organizes a forum that will x-ray the industry’s future plans for ICT growth post pandemic era.
The event, slated to hold on October 15, 2020, will seek to discuss the needs for a fortified ICT sector after the COVID-19 era, and the level of preparedness of ICT stakeholders to embrace the challenge of being pivotal to the stability and growth of all other sectors.
A statement from NITRA National Secretariat in Lagos indicates that due to the pandemic and need to observe the COVID-19 protocol on social distancing, the event will be held via a Webinar.
This year’s theme, “Multi-stakeholder Approach To National Recovery Post-Pandemic”, is in line with the annual event’s generic theme, ‘NITRA Innovative Tech Forum’, a contribution by NITRA to the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) innovations and policies in Nigeria.
Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC is expected to deliver the keynote speech at the event and will throw more light on Federal Government’s plans, programmes and policies on post-pandemic strategies using ICT.
Dr. Adewale Obadare and Dr. Seyi Akindeinde, founders of Digital Encode, while accepting to support the event expressed their readiness to offer their expertise in Cybersecurity for organisations to prepare against cyber- attacks with the new normal.
They will also highlight areas that are high risks that need fortification in terms of cybersecurity.
Speaking on the event, Mr. Chike Onwuegbuchi, national chairman, NITRA, noted that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave its negative trails across the globe, economic reboot for countries will not only depend on how well they readapt to the new normal, but also more on their recovery plans.
According to him: “While the federal government has consistently expressed its willingness to set all policies in place to engender growth, and accelerated implementation of these policies, private sector firms have also shown great hunger for the task ahead in post-COVID-19 era.
However, the question that needs to be answered is whether all stakeholders are ready for the required task ahead.”
The event will also offer participating companies opportunities to publicize some of their individual efforts at contributing to reacting a soft landing or lifeline for SMEs and other ancillary companies as the pandemic threatens their survival.
Digital Encode is a multi-award winning and leading consulting and integration firm that specializes in the design, management, and security of business-critical networks, telecommunications environments and other Information Technology (IT) infrastructures.
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