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Forming strong collaboration between African governments and the corporate sector is the smartest way to do meet the challenge of deploying ICTs in Africa, says Ingo Juraske, Hewlett Packard's Public Sector VP in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Juraske says as resources (money, skilled people) are limited, governments and business have to change the way they work.
Governments should consult with service providers at the early stages of their ICT projects, harnessing the expertise that they have gathered in the course of doing business, he says.
"Don't just hit us with a tender. We appreciate it as well, but if we are to improve the chances of the project's success, you must let us share the lessons we learnt with you," he says.
Heikki Tuunanen, ambassador of Finland to South Africa says the challenge in deploying ICTs in developing countries does not lie in knowing what to do and how to do it; it is in doing the right things as fast as possible.
He says the CT sector changes very rapidly. As a result, governments need to ensure that strategies are decided and acted upon before the sector moves on to the next level of development, leaving the citizens behind, he says. He adds that governments and companies must be able to predict development trends to gain competitive advantage.
Tunnanen gives the example of Nokia, a company that 20 years ago was fully diversified, producing paper, rubber boots and electronic equipment, among other things.
The company was able to see opportunities for growth in mobile phone technology and take advantage of them, he says.
Damaria Senne is a journalist and author based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She regularly interviews executives of multinational companies, government officials and regulators in the African communications market and foresees huge opportunities for content development in Africa in the next couple of years.