For Africa to not just survive the current pandemic, but to thrive, investment into digital infrastructure is inevitable.
Much-needed digital infrastructure and the resulting digital transformation will be an enabler of rapid development across the continent, positively impacting the most vulnerable communities.
While digital transformation is certainly not a new discussion, the COVID-19 pandemic has abruptly accelerated the need for digital adoption.
There’s an urgent need to invest in connecting communities and improving service delivery to citizens throughout Africa.
However, governments across Africa, and indeed globally, have budgetary restraints that have been exacerbated by the current pandemic, and digitisation requires significant investments to modernise the government sector and beyond.
Public-private partnerships (PPP) will play a critical role in accelerating digital transformation. Africa’s recovery must be digitally driven – the digital economy is the recipe for job creation, spurring innovation, boosting economic growth and supporting long-term competitiveness in the global digital economy.
Historically, public service delivery across Africa has been characterised by backlogs, inaccuracy, slow response times and poor quality, leaving citizens feeling frustrated, but technology can directly impact operations in public services and improve the lives of citizens.
Technology such as AI, IoT, quantum computing, blockchain, cloud technologies and other tools can improve response times and enable digital access to services, while driving important revenue sources for government in areas such as licensing and taxation.
Morocco is one such country that has harnessed the power of PPPs to drive digital transformation.
The Morocco 2020 Digital Strategy places the development of eGovernment services as a top priority.
According to Ryno Rijnsburger, Chief Technology Officer, Microsoft4Afrika, the company has backed the development of this eGovernment solution in Morocco through a partnership with Algo Consulting to develop the Wraqi platform, which uses IoT, biometrics and blockchain to digitise administrative services, document certification and notarisation.
Platforms like this help provide secure, trusted services with full traceability of services – an important hallmark for eGovernment services.
Public-private partnerships can form the cornerstone of a successful move to digitisation, and are an effective strategy for bringing together the resources and know-how needed to deliver on digital transformation goals.
Bennet Charles wrote from Lagos