CIOs in Africa: Rapid tech adoption means the CIO role is changing

The CIO role in Africa is moving from IT administration to focus on transformational change

world map / Africa
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Different markets, geographies, times and circumstances call for different leadership skills and approaches. In Africa, the chief information officer (CIO) role is emerging as one of the most dynamic executive positions in enterprises, as CIOs are increasingly expected to bring innovation to their organisations.

Historically, the CIO role in Africa tended to command a focus on database, networking, web and systems administration. However, that perspective is shifting as CIOs need to become more dynamic and flexible in order to evolve in tandem with the fast pace of technological adoption, particularly in countries like South Africa, while keeping up with global best practices and operational standards.

"The role of CIO has changed drastically. You become a chief investment officer, a chief technology officer, a business strategist, a transformation manager and a technology risk manager. As such, as a leader, I surround myself with the right skills to support these multiple functions and ensure that I utilise IT and digital governance frameworks to maximise business engagement and alignment," said Tshifhiwa Ramuthaga, chief digital officer at Barloworld Automotive and Logistics.

Prior to her current position Ramuthaga was CIO at Barloworld, and she has over 15 years of experience as a CIO and ICT professional at companies including Telkom, the South Africa's Financial Services Board and Standard Bank.

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