Technology on Gender inequality: How the gap can be shortened, AfricaCom summit hears

Technology on Gender has for long favored male players as compared to females. In South Africa, the government is now ramping up policies aimed at using digital technology to reduce inequality, create opportunities, and reap the benefits of ICT for a post-pandemic social and economic industry revival.

This was part of a message from the Minister of Communications, Telecommunications and Postal Service Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams during the Better Africa Summit at AfricaCom2020 conducted online from 9th-12th November 2020.

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According to Ndabeni, the South African President Ramaphosa’s Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) commission has made key recommendations that have been approved by Cabinet.

These include a commitment to invest in human capital, establishment of an AI Institute, setting up a platform for advanced manufacturing, and supporting data security data to enable innovation.

“Technology can address the most challenging development problems faced by South Africa and the rest of the continent,” said Ndabeni-Abrahams. “By supporting SMMEs to develop technology that will optimise the delivery of services in sectors such as health, education and transport, we can simultaneously enhance the wellbeing of our citizens and become globally competitive.”

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Ndabeni Abrahams said the rise of COVID-19 confirmed the government’s belief in data as a catalyst for digital transformation growth through increased digital technologies and innovations.

She said this had informed the government’s new Data and Cloud Policy, which aimed to improve citizens access to data and to encourage a new thinking about the world of work.

Echoing the minister’s sentiment, Leo Chen, the Huawei President for Sub Saharan Africa, pointed out to the pandemic as a trigger for a long-term shift in people’s behaviour to stay online.

We recently saw new demands for work-from-home, online shopping and homeschooling emerge, with data traffic soaring over 40% and digital services booming across the Sub Saharan Africa region. We are grateful to see that African governments have responded quickly to the crisis by enhancing the role of ICT in the fight and recovery, whether through releasing temporary spectrum or policy recommendations.

said Chen

Also speaking at AfricaCom, Sharoda Rapeti, a non-executive partner at Delta Partners consulting firm, said telcos could be “growth accelerators” in building a resilient post-pandemic economy through infrastructure sharing models and increased investment.

While presenting the results of a pandemic survey, Rapeti noted that there has been a surge in connectivity at regional level in Africa, and signs of pent-up demand for Cloud-based solutions. 

“Around 58% of African leaders surveyed saw the pandemic as an industry accelerator,” said Rapeti “These findings point to good prospects for the telco sector in Africa, as long as we take the right approach to investment and partnerships and we implement large-scale connectivity infrastructure at the right pace.”

All in all, Technology on gender will soon favor both Women and Men without single sided favor. As per the conference keynotes, SouthAfrica is one of the countries supporting innovations and fighting gender inequality in the mix.

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