As the International Data Corporation (IDC)’s two day conference comes to an end this afternoon in Johannesburg, South Africa, IT News Africa reporters caught up with the Vice President and Regional Managing Director for IDC Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Jyoti Lalchandani.
Lalchandani discussed a wide range of issues surrounding ICT in Africa and abroad, the impact of the economic crisis in the region and the importance of the CIOs’ role on the African continent.
ITNewsAfrica.com: How would you describe the ICT landscape in Africa versus Middle East /
Lalchadani: Africa has a lot to do! The continent still has a long way to go. Of course, there are some pockets of investments, especially in the Finance and Banking sector which directly supports ICT. Africa’s current spending in ICT is 20 percent as opposed to 40 percent in the Middle East.
ITNewsAfrica.com: What are the recent ICT trends and developments in this particular region (MEA)?
Lalchadani: Middle East is fast becoming an Information Technology (IT) hub, although we can not leave out Africa as one of the fastest growing IT markets (emerging markets) in the world.
ITNewsAfrica.com: What was the impact of the global economic crisis on ICT in the region? (any notable changes?)
Lalchadani: There was a 3 percent drop in Information Technology (IT) spending globally with Africa recording 3.5 percent. The global econimic crisis impacted negatively on the financial services providers, consumers and the government. The economic crunch saw consumers embarking on a wait and see attitude. But the sector is picking up, and there is growing competition.
ITNewsAfrica.com: What are the main challenges of CIOs on the African continent?
Lalchadani: There is a need to give advise to the local communities, governments and private sector on building on CIO skills, which are in great demand in the emerging markets, mainly Africa and Middle East.
Skills shortage is the main problem hampering quick development in this continent.
I would propose that African governments and the private sector should put their focus on the long term investments in the field of ICT. This is the mature sector.
Whatever Africa does should have relevance to the global trends in as far as IT sector is concerned. African CIOs should seriously consider partnerships with their international counterparts.
by Savious Kwinika