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INTERVIEW: Breaking barriers in SA with technology

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Jenna Delport
Jenna Delport
I’m a tech writer, world traveller, avocado-eater and dog lover, not always in that order.

President Ntuli has recently been appointed the new Managing Director for HPE South Africa — effective August 2019.  He is responsible for overseeing a broad hardware, software and services portfolio, driving further growth and maintaining high levels of customer and partner satisfaction.

President Ntuli has recently been appointed the new Managing Director for HPE South Africa.

IT News Africa’s Jenna Cook had the opportunity to chat with him at the HPE Discover More conference. Here’s what transpired:

Why is technology something that you’re so passionate about?

You know, I’m excited about the little things that we can do to impact people’s life – using technology to leapfrog other developing countries specifically in Africa and impacting the way people live.

What’s a major barrier facing South Africa and how are you using technology to aid in breaking it?

Access to Technology. It’s about bridging the gap between the haves and the have nots. Somehow we need to try and bring the have nots closer to technology – and there’s a lot that we can do from an industry perspective to ensure that everyone has equal access and can participate in the data economy.

But until we fix the basics and give everyone reliable access to technology, we’ll keep putting up barriers around the cost of connectivity.

How will access to technology improve people’s lives who haven’t had access to it before?

The first sector is healthcare – some of the social ills in South Africa is access to healthcare. For example, people have to travel long distances for a checkup but we could use technology to deliver medicine to their door.

Second is education – and aligning our curriculum for the jobs of the future. Are we training people for the right type of job? Because artificial intelligence and machine learning will not only create a new way of doing things but also new opportunities.

The question is in the education sector, can we review the curriculum to ensure that we’re training people for the jobs of the future? And how can we use 4IR as a platform train the next generation?

Do you think that Africa, in general, has been open to the idea of redesigning our current curriculums?

I think we’re getting there. We don’t need everyone to be an expert in artificial intelligence, we just need the future generations to be able to grasp the concept and be able to use that concept in their field of study.

From a policy perspective, you can’t fault our intentions – but the area which we need to focus on is execution and figuring out how to ensure that we prepare the citizens of the future.

How do you think South Africa is doing in comparison to the rest of Africa in terms of innovation and tech adoption?

As a whole, I think we’re missing an opportunity. Just by looking at South Africa, we should be the powerhouse of Africa. But what we’re seeing is smaller countries, like Rwanda, are embracing technology so much and creating huge impacts on economic growth. We’re seeing Mauritius become the data centre capital of Africa.

If you look at the size of South Africa, maybe we need to first address is scalability.

Has HPE had to redesign any of its strategies or solutions to fit into the local South African context?

We are quite fortunate in that our global strategy is easily implementable. I think we have a very clear strategy that is so relevant to the South African market because it talks to the pillars of what technology should be all about.

Our organisations mission is to empower our partners and customers to take their solutions into the market. So we are laying a foundation from a technology perspective, to enable the ecosystem. And you can almost replicate that sort of strategy almost anywhere you are in the world.

By Jenna Cook

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