CEO of Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa, Sabine Dall’Omo said in a statement that the company’s latest investment intends to aid the development of locally engineered solutions.
“In an African context, disruptive technology can be seen as an opportunity to leapfrog into the best and most advanced technologies, but this is only possible with access to the right training and equipment.”
The company was one of the several global firms, including Microsoft and General Electric, that went to the African Union’s (AU) Private Sector Forum hosted recently in Pretoria, South Africa.
The country has led a call made by the AU for the private sector to contribute more towards the continent’s digitalization process.
Director-General at South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology (DST), Dr. Phil Mjwara, At the Forum said that public-private partnerships, which the department has leveraged to raise R13 million to advance capacity building initiatives in the continent, should become a strategic focus for the technology sector across Africa.
“…the DST’s approach has been to engage with the private sector on a project-by-project basis and assess how the private sector could support the scaling up and successful roll-out of technologies that advance inclusive development. Examples of such initiatives include close collaboration with the private sector and publicly funded entities in piloting innovative sanitation technologies as well as collaborative technology demonstration projects which include private companies as transferors of technical, professional and specialized skills and services.”
Dr. Mjwara also said that the DST has learned of the significance of public-private partnerships through its Sector Innovation Fund which boosts the private sector to allocate financial resources in research, development, and innovation (RDI).
“This initiative has demonstrated the importance and increasing need for cross-sectoral partnerships that maximise the strengths, mutual priorities and financial resources of public and private sector actors. Examples include forestry sector, the wine sector and post-harvest technology to support farmers.”
While Dr. Mjwara also brought to light the importance of investing in technology businesses led by youth.
“Technology hotspots and hubs for startups and small-to-medium enterprises, mostly headed by young people below the age of 40 are on the rise in North, East, West and Southern Africa. New data charting investment activity flowing into Africa’s tech startups, reveals that both local and international investors are taking notice in the growth of tech startups owned by Africa’s youth and the financial investments accruing from this growth.”