Digitalisation and its impact on African economies

September 2nd, 2019, Published in Articles: Energize, Articles: EngineerIT, Articles: Vector

Siemens and Frost & Sullivan conducted a comprehensive research project outlining the current state of industries across the continent and identifying challenges and opportunities. The study, titled “The dawn of digitalisation and its impact on Africa”, considers growth predictions and where the adoption of smart technology would be most beneficial in expanding industries to drive sustainable growth. The focus was on four key sectors: water; manufacturing; mining and minerals, as well as food and beverage.

According to Siemens vice president for Digital Industries southern and eastern Africa Ralf Leinen, Siemens Digital Industries is focused on innovation and technology in industrial automation and digitalisation. He says the Digital Enterprise portfolio provides companies of all sizes with the right products, along with consistent solutions and services for the integration and digitalisation of the entire value chain.

“Digital Enterprise is optimised for the requirements of specific industries and enables customers to reduce product development time while increasing the flexibility and productivity of their production processes.”

Digitalisation, says Leinen, provides the African continent with an opportunity to accelerate growth in struggling economies. It is, however, a small window and decision makers must have strategies in place now to succeed.

Key findings in the report include:

  • The adoption of digital technologies and innovation are expected to remain varied across industries, markets and geographies.
  • Advanced analytics and digitalisation are being adopted in some industries while substantial opportunity for adoption exists across sectors including mining and food and beverage.
  • While manufacturing is mature in its adoption of digital technologies in Africa, it remains a marginal player struggling to make a bigger impact on countries’ GDPs.
  • In the water industry, expenditure in water infrastructure has been low when compared to the global average. Inadequate investment in infrastructure coupled with poor water utility management has resulted in greater need for development of the water sector.
  • In mining, which shows “subdued investment” in digital technologies, rising cost and increasing labour issues and a combination of mechanisation, efficient resource and better use of data can make it easier for operators to cut costs and create leaner operations.

“For the first time in history, we can use smart technology to transform entire economies at an unprecedented rate. Africa needs efficient strategies in place now in order to succeed,” says Leinen.

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