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Digitisation can eliminate corruption – Shanapinda

2019-10-08  Staff Reporter

Digitisation can eliminate corruption – Shanapinda

WINDHOEK – According to newly appointed Brand Ambassador of the National ICT Summit, Dr Stanley Shanapinda, digital transformation, or the application of digital technologies to fundamentally impact all aspects of business and society, can be used to eliminate corruption from Namibian buisnesses and society at large. 

Commenting during the plenary sessions of the ICT Summit, which commenced in the capital yesterday under the theme ‘Accelerating Digital Transformation’, Shanapinda noted that transformation is the act of making a substantive change such as solving a particular societal problem. 

“If we wanted to prevent corruption, we reduce or remove individual discretion when it comes to assessment and approval processes. So, the process is automated, logged, audited and the result speaks for itself – no backhand deals. That is something we can do in our procurement processes. Digitisation, in other words, automated decision-making, can cut out corruption. It minimises human interaction and leaves a digital trail, for assessments of jobs, grants, payments, etc,” said Shanapinda. 

Shanapinda, a former CEO of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN), yesterday focussed on the topic ‘Making Digital Transformation Work for the People, with ‘the people’ referring to ordinary Namibians as opposed to Namibian businesses. 

Shanapinda explained that when digital transformation first started out it was about solving business problems by automating business processes to keep profits high. 

“Digital transformation is preceded by digitisation. That is the technical conversion – going paperless for example. Then comes digitalisation – automating the business process. The effect created by digitisation and digitalisation is what is referred to as digital transformation – it is the resulting effect – the outcome, from having digitalised, for example by using enterprise resource planning (ERP) to automate back office functions. It is a manifestation of a desired goal-business savings, increased productivity, increased sales, increased revenue and profits,” said Shanapinda. 

He added that Namibia may need a major investment project that stimulates the rest of the economy, from which digital transformation projects can be funded that have a focus of skills development and job creation. 

“I am not sure what the total graduation figures of Unam and Nust are over the years that’s focussed on societal digital transformation, that can offer solutions to the rest of the world and have commercial potential,” he said. 

He continued that Namibia needs to incorporate business training into university ICT degrees, with simulate real-world exercises about operating the business, developing products, conducting market research, doing marketing and sales and managing finances. 

“I know Unam and Nust report on community engagement, but I am also not sure whether we conduct research impact analysis and reporting … How are we ensuring that our young people are working on research that will lead to business ideas that accelerate digital transformation focussed on uniquely Namibian problems and creating businesses, investments and jobs in the process?” Shanapinda said. 

He suggested that addressing Namibia’s most pressing basic needs, such as securing drinking water given climate change, can be achieved by using digital technologies to measure use and prevent wastage. 

“It would require adding to the equation addressing youth unemployment and at the same time training the digital natives for the new jobs of the future, given that investment in existing retail and agricultural jobs are on the decline and may be further reduced by robotics technology. There may be massive job losses for those employed in the retail and wholesale sector, and at the same time the non-creation of new jobs. It can no longer be business as usual; we must expect the unexpected and work towards securing our future with a whole New Deal that captures the zeitgeist of the age of the technological revolution that we live in,” Shanapinda said. 

2019-10-08  Staff Reporter

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