How CIOs are navigating Africa’s infrastructure woes

Africa’s infrastructure instability continues to affect business, but savvy CIOs are finding ways to manage.

Martyn Williams

Electricity loadshedding in South Africa, internet outages and shutdowns in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Sudan and Mauritania, water woes in other parts of the continent — Africa’s infrastructure instability continues to impact on business, but savvy CIOs are finding ways to manage despite the service interruptions.

Last week, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) issued a report noting that the continent needed more than $5 billion a year for ICT infrastructure development – adding that Africa lagged behind the rest of the world in terms of such infrastructure.

Africa as a whole comes with a myriad of contextual challenges that are specific to each region, says Stin Mulunda, group CIO of Cranberry Holdings.  "With proper planning it is possible to mitigate short term shocks and manage the infrastructure TCO [total cost of ownership] over a longer period,” he says.

Solar power, for example, is continuing to grow in commercial substance in South Africa, Mulunda notes. He says that there are infrastructural improvements happening in places like Ethiopia. “In other regions, execution is still in progress, and commercial entities in those regions have learnt how to adapt to the challenges they face.”

Africa needs fibre

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