African Digitization is here

Innovation and Transformation

20 October 2021 | Technology

Meltwater, the world’s leading media intelligence provider, delves into social media and online news
data to share key trends and insights of our “new normal” in Namibia and Southern Africa.
For years, we’ve been talking about the opportunities and possibilities of digitisation, but for many companies, that’s all that has happened - a lot of talk and little action, that is, until Covid-19.
When the pandemic hit, companies had no other choice but to dust off digital plans and put them into action. In just a few weeks, processes were digitised that would have taken years under normal circumstances - but the good news is that it paid off.

According to a study from Staufen AG, Covid-19 digital trailblazers came through the crisis in a much better position than others. The study found that nearly two thirds (63%) of digitally advanced companies saw transformations through with success.
How are we responding to digitization and innovation?
When looking at hundreds of thousands of social media posts, news articles and other online media mentions between April and September 2021, Meltwater has identified that there has been a 33% rise in total conversations surrounding positive transformation and innovation in Namibia.
Media coverage surrounding innovation received the highest volume of mentions, however, media pertaining to digital transformation saw the largest volume of growth (47%) in comparison to the previous 6 month period. This shows the level of increased support from both business strategy and public sentiment in Namibia and has the power to improve competitive advantages for companies and faster public adoption.
At its core, digital transformation brings siloed data from disparate sources together, in order to create actionable business insights. These insights help drive decisions around key strategic objectives, such as decreasing cost and increasing profits. We have identified six areas that benefit from this:
According to McKinsey & Company, there is a rising trend of reallocation of marketing budgets (up to 20%) to accommodate software technology and data analytics for improved operational efficiency and bottom line performance.
From an African perspective, Malala Simungala, Senior Manager Technology Advisory, KPMG Zambia reflected, in a recent Meltwater event, that, “Technological innovation has seen the most development in the Covid-19 era, and is viewed as a game changer. Corporates that tend to overlook data and analytics in their decision making, will usually misplace their strategic focus and projections.”
The Southern African Innovation Panel
Nicolaas Louw, Regional Manager of Meltwater Southern Africa, first heard the quote, “Africa, your time is NOW,” by Papama Mtwisha in 2019, and was inspired. Together with the Meltwater Africa region, Louw decided that we need more dialogue and shared stories on African growth and
innovation, and established the Southern African Innovation Panel.
The Meltwater Southern African Innovation Panel invites local thought leaders to share their stories and actionable insights for the benefit of professionals and organisations across countries in the Southern Africa region.
In September 2021, Louw moderated the Innovation Panel again to share which micro disruptions can be implemented that may have a broader impact on the growth and development of a company,
market or even a country.
One of the panelists, Chumi Ogbonna, Nedbank Namibia’s Head: Strategy and Innovation, shared his insight on the topic. “Digital transformation is often more difficult than it first appears but also more crucial than most people realize. Therefore, it is very difficult to make clear and committed decisions
about it. When you digitize processes, you produce more information than before. Remember to increase your capacity to collect, store and process this information. Don’t take it for granted that data will turn into insights.”
Another important trend that is gaining momentum in Southern Africa is the need for parastatals and state entities to invest in digital transformation and data analytics. Keitumetse Setlang, shares her insights in the latest Innovation panel event that can be found on
“The task before us now is to ensure that we do not simply return to business as usual, but that we accelerate the pace towards achieving our transformation goals. The BotswanaLive Virtual Tours Campaign comes as a response to the COVID-19 Pandemic’s impact on travel and tourism in
Botswana. It is an alternative and technologically advanced approach in keeping with current trends aimed at promoting travel to and around destinations in Botswana.” — His Excellency the President of the Republic of Botswana Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi.
Where to from here?
Digital transformation is changing the way organisations operate. Systems, processes, workflows, and culture are all being reevaluated as a result. It’s true that transformation affects each level of an organisation and brings together data, across areas, to work together more effectively.
Improving customer experience is one of the core goals in this process, followed by the aim to increase profit and reduce costs through automation of reporting, unified datasets and a consolidation of systems. Better internal communications and real-time data analytics will also help
companies to make informed decisions and drive their business strategy in the digital and ever-changing world.
We encourage executives, professionals and thought leaders to engage with Meltwater to better understand which gaps exist in their current strategy and how other African organisations areovercoming similar challenges.

For more information, contact Nicolaas Louw, Regional Manager, Meltwater Southern Africa:
+27 61 991 9006
[email protected]

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