African countries are increasingly trying to use Indian-developed technologies rather than those developed by the West, the latter seen as less suitable for the continent, delegates to a conclave that just ended here say.
“Technology, including new technology in the service sector, will drive growth and economic development in South Africa’s developing region. India can not only provide opportunities for technology transformation, but also share technical knowledge,” said Ashok Babu, Consul General for India in Cape Town.
Babu, who moderated the panel discussion on the topic at the CII-Exim Bank Regional Conclave on India-Southern Africa Growth Partnership Africa held here earlier this week, said sharing technical expertise has been an important part of India’s development cooperation to People in Africa empower countries through a range of capacity-building programs such as ITEC grants, ICCR grants and other training programs through the India-Africa Forum Summits.
Abhishek Jain, deputy director at KPMG, said that about 20 years ago, India was in a similar situation to Africa in terms of technological capacity development, but India is now a world leader in this field after investing in technology and education have. “Southern Africa could very well become a powerhouse in the next few years,” Jain said.
He identified areas where Indian experience could prove valuable in this regard, including vaccine production, education, e-medicine and renewable energy, which he believes could be a game changer for the continent given its abundance of renewable energy sources Solar energy blessed be .
He said one of the areas that too many people know little about is the Square Kilometer Array telescope, which involves a number of countries including South Africa.
“This (involves) a collaboration between Indian and South African scientists developing the world’s largest telescope, which will present a space exploration opportunity for India and South Africa,” he said.
Jain said that India’s space development program has resulted in grassroots benefits for its people, which could also be done for southern Africa.
Jignesh Dipakkumar Dave, Chief Executive Office of Next360 Group, said the use of digital technology tools helps build capacity.
“If you have the technology and the capacity, you can have access to capital. We see this as something gaining momentum as the world recovers from the Covid pandemic,” said Dave.
K Balachandran, co-founder and chief financial officer of Iris Business Services Limited, said a structured digital ecosystem enables development by bringing technology closer to a country’s people.
“India’s digital systems have made significant strides over the past decade and are now in a position to push the country forward in a big way to help other countries as well,” Balachandran said, adding that he hopes that will be the case The Indian experience of working together would also benefit South African countries.
Dennis Laxton, senior faculty member at Regenesys Business School South Africa, shared this view.
“If we don’t work together, we won’t share knowledge. It’s about what each party can bring to the table.
“India has pumped a lot of money into technology and we in South Africa need to grow. If we don’t embrace technology through this learning, how will we advance?” asked Laxton. “If we can share and collaborate, we can empower people through technology transfer,” said Laxton.
Nokuthula Ndlovu, Director, Projectised Management at the Black Business Council of South Africa, said Indian companies need to be aware that some local talent may feel threatened by companies from India, even as she proposed a solution.
“There is a product-centric way around the intentional transfer of skills where we can work with local IT companies and form impressive partnerships,” Ndlovu said.
“We need to develop products and services within the technology that focus on the end user and the customer, as well as the reputation of these companies in a non-threatening way through employment and required skills,” suggested Ndlovu.