Insights and learning from the CIO Public Sector Africa Summit

Insights and learning from the CIO Public Sector Africa Summit

This year, EnerGlobe Ltd’s Darren Roach ran the first CIO Public Sector Africa Summit. The engagements were rich and it was a pleasure to meet individuals that help power the gears of government in the trenches. Topical discussions of the day were (1) cooperation, (2) digitalization and (3) cybersecurity; I share some key insights I gained below:

Cooperation

  • Collaboration needs to be fostered not only within departmental silos but also between government divisions to encourage innovation and save costs. Information about technology projects and programmes must be communicated and shared between all parties.

  • Some government departments have already started with collaboration programs, but these need to be expanded. Collaboration is not limited to people-collaboration but also incorporating discussions on digitally sharing data across government divisions.

  • Blockchain was proposed as a possible technical solution to not only securely, but also transparently share data between government divisions and possibly the private sector as well.

  • The South African government has clear e-government policies, and the various divisions are already well on their way towards aligning their internal strategies and programs toward these. More collaboration on these, however, would be welcome as there is a real opportunity to reuse work done by the departments that are ahead of the curve.

Digitilisation

  • Partaking in the “Fourth industrial revolution” was identified as key to achieving economic growth. The digital divide between citizens with access to the internet and those that do not have access is estimated to be around 52%. The cost of bandwidth was identified as a barrier to close the divide.

  • The impact of automation and its effect on job losses means that education of the workforce and entrepreneurs will be core to take citizens towards an Artifical Intelligence (AI) future.

  • The lack of data science skills was identified and the need to work with tertiary institutions to bridge gaps highlighted.

Cybersecurity

  • Cybersecurity and compliance to various legislative frameworks and legal acts to protect citizens data is a significant concern.

  • Delegates were candid about the complexities and mammoth tasks that cybersecurity give rise to.

  • Discussions centered on how to use limited resources to protect data. The two areas identified to achieve this were (1) a better classification of data (2) and education for users.

My takeaway

I am encouraged and inspired by the different government programs and individual efforts to foster cooperation between government departments. Delegates agreed that they would do even more in the future.

Digitisation and automation are primary focus areas across government. Planned strategies and activities are on their way, and South African citizens can look forward to streamlined services that are consumer-focused.

Delegates are aware that achieving the goals will take time and various departments are also working on bettering their current services to bridge the gap to a full e-government program.

All in all, it was a great day and new connections forged will benefit not just delegates but South Africa in the long run.

If you would like to connect to Darren Roach, feel free to connect with him on Linked-In at https://www.linkedin.com/in/darren-roach-7546b112.

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