1 year ago

Opportunity Issue 99

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Opportunity magazine is a niche business-to-business publication that explores various investment opportunities within Southern Africa’s economic sectors and looks to provide its readers with first-hand knowledge about South African business. Opportunity also looks to present South African business to international markets that may have interests in investing in South Africa. The publication is endorsed by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI).

TECHNOLOGY economy. With

TECHNOLOGY economy. With an estimated half-a-billion Internet users in Africa in 2020, Google realises that there are huge opportunities for the next generation, African businesses and digital entrepreneurs. “This collaboration with Google will offer transformative benefits for people, connecting them to digital channels to access education platforms, skills and employment opportunities as well as support their good health and wellbeing. It will also assist Vodacom’s purpose of connecting the next 100-million people in Africa to a better future by 2025,” says Netshitenzhe. Says Asha Patel, Head of Marketing at Google South Africa, “If our youth have the right skills, they are prepared for future jobs, can build businesses, create jobs and boost economic growth across the continent. “We aim to equip millions of South Africans with digital skills and tools to help them build an online presence, create content, understand web design and user experience, social media and app development. It is through this collaboration with the Vodacom Foundation that this goal can be achieved.” The Grow with Google programme will offer qualified resources to provide the following: • Digital skills training. • CS-First (coding for beginners). • Web Rangers (Internet safety). African opportunities For the MTN Group, 4IR presents a window of opportunity to raise the quality of life and income levels. Delivering a keynote address at the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Strategy Workshop held in November 2020, the Chairman of MTN Nigeria Communications PLC, Dr Ernest Ndukwe, highlighted the opportunities of 4IR on the African continent. “While the first, second, and third industrial revolutions focused on steam engineering, electrification and assembly line, and computing, the Internet and nuclear energy respectively, 4IR is building on the third. 4IR is characterised by a fusion of technologies that are blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres” argued Ndukwe. He added that the revolution represents a unique opportunity for African countries to leapfrog over hurdles with the help of technology. Dr Ndukwe used the case of the Nigerian telecommunications industry. He pointed out that an increase in national broadband penetration in 2020 had a positive impact on the contribution of the industry to gross domestic product (GDP), digital traffic and radio latency. “MTN appears to be leading in the tripartite levers for 4IR acceleration, which include Pervasive Broadband through advances in 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).“ According to Ndukwe, African policymakers and regulators need to use a "united vision to seize opportunities as well as create incentives for technology adoption in national priority sectors like agriculture and energy". Central to the success of the digital revolution on the continent will be raising awareness and promoting access to information. 44 | Development partnerships need to be fostered to roll out infrastructure. Jacqui O’ Sullivan, Executive Head for Corporate Affairs at MTN, says the telecommunications giant is hard at work fostering digital inclusion under the aegis of its MTN Foundation. “We know that while South Africa has made notable strides in broadening access to telecommunications and technology, the country continues to be characterised by a deep digital divide.” About the dire consequences of the perpetual digital divide in the country, O’ Sullivan adds, “This perpetuates unequal access to opportunities, making it harder for the historically disadvantaged youth to benefit from employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. While young people are often considered digital natives, the majority do not possess sufficient digital skills required for them to succeed in the workplace.” An example of corporates promoting broader community participation is the collaboration between MTN and the Siyavula Foundation. This enables access to e-learning platforms at more than 1 000 educational, public-benefit websites for all grades and subjects with a strong emphasis on Grades 10, 11 and 12. Non-profit organisations are also doing their bit. The Sakhikamva Foundation has helped pupils and teachers at the Silverlea Primary School in Athlone (Western Cape) to be pioneers in the digital revolution with the launch of the country’s first 4IR Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Aeronautics and Mathematics (STREAM) laboratory. This initiative enables the beneficiaries of the programme to enjoy hands-on experience with the latest technology such as drones, 3D printing, robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Against this background of far-reaching development heralding an era hitherto unknown to the human race, not only will the entire world benefit from riding on the crest of the wave of the 4IR disruption, but South Africa will too, if it adds fresh impetus to this trend. South Africa needs to invest in innovation and creativity while empowering and addressing the skills deficit. Says Professor Marwala, “It is vital that both the youth and adults have digital literacy as part of any education so that everyone can face a 4IR world confidently.” In Memoriam It is with great sadness that we record the untimely passing of our friend and colleague, Sello Stephen Mabotja. Sello was a founding member of Global Africa Network in 2004, having already distinguished himself as a Staff Writer at Financial Mail from 1995-2001. He was instrumental in launching GAN’s Limpopo Business annual in 2006, to which he contributed regularly, and was a leading writer for the online investment promotion e-newsletter, TradeInvestSA. He went on to the position of senior communications manager at a leading South African bank, and was an exco member of the Forum of Black Journalists (FBJ). More latterly Sello served in the public sector, his most recent position being that of Deputy Director of Knowledge Management for Limpopo’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development from 2014 until his passing in August of this year. Sello is survived by his wife, Mpinana and his daughters Lehlogonolo and Lethabo. We at GAN will miss his insights and contributions, and his friendship.

DISASTER TECHNOLOGY RECOVERY Planning for the next catastrophe Disaster Recovery during Covid-19 and beyond. Credit: Lars Kienle on Unsplash The Covid-19 pandemic has been the catalyst for momentous change throughout the IT landscape and for Disaster Recovery (DR) in particular as the global pandemic made widespread disruption and uncertainty a clear and present reality. “The onset of Covid-19 was one kind of disaster as companies had to quickly invoke business continuity and disaster recovery plans to cope with employees being denied access to their offices. It has put into sharp focus many enterprises’ lack of DR plans and accelerated the penetration of Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) in the market,” says Andrew Cruise, managing director of Routed, a vendor-neutral cloud infrastructure provider. According to Cruise, having coherent DR plans in place is a non-negotiable, especially given the wide-ranging threats today’s businesses face on an ongoing basis. He says that while there are a number of obvious disasters that CIOs should be planning for, there are some no less high-profile disasters that don’t receive adequate attention until it’s too late. “Ransomware is of course one of the most common and insidious disasters that can occur, but another which receives very little press, mostly due to embarrassment, is internal sabotage, closely followed by employee error. These are much more common than fire, theft and flood, and all require a slightly different approach to ensure a resolution." Cruise highlights four key factors to keep in mind while planning for effective recovery from disasters: Disaster Recovery (DR) plans are the technical part of Business Continuity (BC) planning. DR plans should never sit in isolation. The objective of DR plans is to satisfy Business Continuity objectives, which are typically deployed to maintain some level of business function in the face of an unexpected destructive event. The scope of a DR plan usually covers IT only. This would cover the accessibility of a recovery environment at a minimum, including the recovery and useability of data and applications, and the network’s access to said data. Credit: imgix on Unsplash | 45

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