Digital Economy Pulse Check: Refiloe Mpakanyane mines the fringes of Africa Digital Transformation Strategy Summit 2023

Our Associate Producer, Refiloe Mpakanyane, curates a digital transformation immersion featuring insights from C-suite leaders from Africa's telecommunications industry.

Digital Economy Pulse Check: Refiloe Mpakanyane mines the fringes of Africa Digital Transformation Strategy Summit 2023
Photo by VD Photography / Unsplash

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In this special edition of the African Tech Roundup podcast, taped at the fringes of the inaugural Africa Digital Transformation Strategy Summit in September 2023 (convened by NOVACOM Summits), Refiloe Mpakanyane investigates the state of digital transformation in Africa through conversation with four seasoned corporate C-suite executives spearheading innovation in Africa.

Dr Juliet Ehimuan is formerly Director of Google West Africa. Juliet posits three critical pillars of digital transformation: access, local content development, and tech entrepreneurship. Citing the role of smartphone adoption in driving digital access across Africa, Juliet believes that skills development is essential for participation in the digital economy and that governments can play a significant role in digitizing services, enhancing efficiency, and promoting digital skills among citizens.

WATCH: Refiloe's Full Interview with Dr Juliet Ehimuan

As the Chief Strategy Officer of Liquid Intelligence Technologies, Dr Willie Oosthuysen serves a Cassava Technologies subsidiary with an extensive presence in over 20 African countries and a fibre optic network spanning more than 110,000 kilometres. Willie holds that even as regulatory challenges persist across the continent, with governments often struggling to keep pace with rapidly evolving technology and innovation, Africa adapts successful technology models from more developed regions, with a lag of 2 to 3 years.

WATCH: Refiloe's Full Interview with Dr Willie Oosthuysen

Varun Giridhar is the CEO of Continuous Power Africa. In this conversation with Refiloe, Varun outlines the challenges of infrastructure, energy costs, and other hurdles in Africa's digital transformation. Varun is inclined to view Africa's energy challenges as opportunities for innovation. He is upbeat as he reflects on the continent's progress since 2019, when Continous Power Africa started providing nimble, cost-effective distributed energy to telecommunications partners in Africa and beyond. He is particularly bullish on more recent trends towards the deployment of remote control and autonomous interventions.

WATCH: Refiloe's Full Interview with Varun Giridhar

Elhad Kassim Said Ahmed is the Head of Submarine Optical Fibre Network at Comoros Cables. Comoros Cables is a company from a small island nation with a grand vision for connectivity. Elhad sheds light on Comoros' ambitious vision to position itself as a pivotal hub for broadband connectivity. This vision is underpinned by Comoros' strategic geographical location, nestled in the Mozambique Channel. This location allows them to connect not only with the Asian markets but also with the northern and southern regions of the African continent.

WATCH: Refiloe's Full Interview with Elhad Ahmed

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