Africa must go into the cloud for unique gains of technology

Kenya is leading  Africa in Internet and mobile penetration. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Kenya is leading Africa in Internet and mobile penetration. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya has distinguished itself as a hotbed of technological innovation and creativity. The challenge now is how to consolidate these gains and leap forward to enhance the quality of life for all.

‘Cloud’ is a service you use every day, without even realising it. Whether with your mobile apps, email service (Gmail, Mozilla, Outlook) Facebook, online shopping services such as eBay/ Amazon.

Cloud computing enables companies to consume IT resources rather than having to build and maintain computing infrastructures in-house.

With cloud computing, projects that took years to implement and action now take a matter of weeks or months, with predictable budgets.

In such a context, more development and testing can happen at a lower cost and its effects can be seen on technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Machine Learning, Internet Of Things, Blockchain, Bitcoin and others.


We have seen manufacturers introduce products faster and cheaper than ever before, giving them the freedom to pursue real change and innovation across the entire supply chain.

Industries that are heavily regulated because of security concerns or full data access requirements should turn to unique models that combine the benefits of having data on servers in an on-premise data centre, with those of a pay-as-you-go model with a technology provider maintaining it all.

Kenya can lead Africa forward, but taking the next step becomes critical. How can we leverage these ingredients of technological innovation to drive inclusive development?

The solution for Africa’s challenges will come from within Africa. Technology is the same all over the world; the difference lies in building solutions that answer and address local socio-economic challenges.

At present, Kenya is the clear leader in Africa when it comes to Internet and mobile penetration, which stood at 89.4 per cent in June 2017, with the next three lagging further behind: Morocco (58pc), South Africa (56pc) and Nigeria (54). The continental average is 31.2 per cent

The innovation ecosystem in Kenya is flourishing, drawing global interest. The most famous being mobile payment.

While the rest of the world is struggling to make mobile payments work for them, Kenya is already a global example.

There is also significant goodwill from government as well as private sector players; business leaders are always looking for technology that gives them an edge in their industries.

Individually, Kenyans are generally fast adopters of new technology and the youthful population is creative and not afraid of innovating.

The challenge lies in taking this further. For instance, the impact of Uber in facilitating transportation in many African cities is massive; however, we need to consider how to make the concept work in rural areas too.

Africa has a unique opportunity enabled by cloud technology; focus should be on using it in a manner that delivers maximum developmental impact.

The writer is the MD, Kenya Hub covering East, Central and West Africa at Oracle.