The Centre of Excellence for Information and Communications Technology in East Africa (CENIT@EA) organised the event ICT4Business on 18 July in Kigali, Rwanda. Around 40 participants from the private and public sector discussed their needs and requirements for digitalisation and how CENIT@EA can provide relevant skills, capacities and know-how to the private and public sector to enable them to reap benefits from the digital transformation.
In his opening remarks, Mr Karera, Chairman of the East African Business Council (EABC), emphasized the need for the industry to digitalise and use Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in their business processes. The Principal Information Technology Officer of the East African Community (EAC), Mr Murenzi, pointed out that digital transformation is a priority of the EAC’s 5th Development Strategy.
The Senior Systems Officer of the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), Mr Ruhinda, added that CENIT@EA is a very important regional initiative providing skills and know-how for the success of the digital transformation. Ms Focken, Cluster Coordinator for EAC at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, pointed out in her opening remarks that a continuous exchange between industry and academia is crucial for developing needed skills and support the use of technology and innovation in East Africa. Expert presentations from the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Startup Binary Earth and from CENIT@EA provided the participants with insights on the relevance of ICT as well as concrete applications such as AI systems improving public transportation.
Digitalisation is increasingly gaining momentum. Main trends in ICT are autonomous vehicles (10% of vehicles are predicted to have autonomous capabilities by 2021), AI (40% of new application development will see AI co-developers), Virtual Reality, Blockchain, Edge and Cloud Computing and the Internet of Things (IoT). Their benefits for companies include increasing productivity, improvement of asset utilization, decreasing costs of inventory holding, maintenance and quality management, reduction in time to market and new business models. The Embedded and Mobile Systems (EMoS) market is expected to generate a revenue of USD 225.34 billion by 2021.
Participants pointed out that they require more information on the actual benefits of digitalisation for their organisation or company. Applications such as of AI would sound very interesting but are not commonly used in companies. CENIT@EA together with EAC, EABC and GIZ will therefore strengthen their work on this issue and provide various best practices to showcase these benefits using concrete use cases. The next ICT4Business event will be held this year in Kampala, Uganda.
Based on the Strategic Partnership “Digital Africa”, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the East African Community (EAC) established the Centre of Excellence for Information and Communication Technology in East Africa (CENIT@EA) based at the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Arusha, Tanzania. CENIT@EA provides relevant skills, capacities and knowledge to shape the digital transformation. It currently offers a Master’s programme for Embedded and Mobile Systems as well as trainings and research. In order to design its activities to solve industry specific issues and provide appropriate solutions, CENIT@EA is committed to closely involve all relevant stakeholders from the private and public sector. For more information about CENIT@EA, visit www.cenit-ea.org.
The East African Business Council (EABC) is the regional apex body of Private Sector associations and Corporates from the 6 East African Countries. It was established in 1997 to foster the interests of the Private Sector in the Integration process of the East African Community.
Vision: Borderless East Africa for business and investment. Mission: To promote sustainable Private Sector-driven growth. For more information about EABC, visit www.eabc.info.