During his recent State of the Nation Address (SONA), South African president Cyril Ramaphosa described the digital economy as a very important driver of future growth and an asset in government’s fight against poverty and unemployment. As part of his focus on the role of digital innovation, he discussed everything from the need for improved digital education and the rollout of 5G to the development of advanced, smart cities. Understandably, electricity, and the need for renewable alternatives, was also a focus of the address.
But none of this will be possible unless we have the necessary skills to leverage these innovations and if we don’t have the right policies and infrastructure in place.
Cloud computing is key to transforming our dreams of a digital future into a reality. So much so that in 2019, the South African SDG Hub at the University of Pretoria released a policy brief that explores the relationship between science, technology, innovation and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Written by professor Willem Fourie, the brief argues that cloud computing will enable cost-effective access to these cutting-edge technologies and will contribute to an “enabling environment for game-changing innovation”.
Similarly, when various African countries presented their SDG-related progress to the United Nations in the beginning of 2019, cloud computing was cited as playing a crucial role in both innovation and efficiency because it enables emerging markets to get access to sophisticated capabilities on demand.
Below, are a few examples of how cloud computing is already disrupting and transforming markets across the developing world.
- Using IBM’s Watson Decision Platform, farmers in Brazil and India can make more informed decisions about what to plant and when to plant using data that can predict crop yields.
- In Nigeria, Interswitch makes use of cloud computing to help small businesses access project financing more quickly.
- LifeQ leverages the cloud to harness data to promote healthier lifestyle choices across Africa.
- Tencent Africa is using the cloud to overcome infrastructure constraints and improve the speed of its services.
And with the opening of the continents first data centres last year – with more facilities on the horizon – the groundwork is well and truly being laid for cloud to become ubiquitous in various regions across Africa.
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