Simbo Ntshinka represented Itec Tiyende and the Itec Group at The South African Pakistan Trade & Investment Seminar at SA Invest in Sandton on 29 August 2018. The event was a full house of business professionals, from Government representative and large prominent corporations, to multinationals and niche business forums such the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Pan African Chamber of Commerce. Various presentations were provided that highlighted the similarities and opportunities for trade and investment between South African and Pakistan.
Simbo was invited to be the lead discussant for the ICT panel discussion but first provided an overview of the South African ICT industry, challenges and opportunities, and the state of the AI market in South Africa to a captive audience. This was followed by a lively Panel discussion between representatives from DED, Barclays Group (Absa) and IBM, chaired by Simbo (Itec).
It was an honour to be one of a select group of companies invited to present. Itec Tiyende is committed to proactively participating in the transformation of South Africa and the broader ICT industry by actively driving the country’s transformation objectives. Together with B-BBEE partner Khulasande Capital, Itec Tiyende are working to bring about positive social change and transformation through enterprise development, sustainability, education and skills development. As a group, Itec strongly believe in economic empowerment, corporate values and ethics, skills development and sustainable business models that favour long-term growth.
The Panel discussion was focused on Artificial Intelligence and the scalability of technology infrastructure to improve effectiveness and competitive edge in business. When the discussion veered towards how grassroots application among traditional farmers in Pakistan, Simbo expertly brought the focus back to SMEs to stay relevant. The panel discussed different possible applications used by SME’s in various industries with a focus on innovative solutions in the agriculture space.
- Absa highlighted innovative successes such as stopping money laundering, to building a device for deaf people to attend business meetings and watch a translation of the meeting on screen.
- Both businesses and universities are embedding AI into their companies and courses in a way that hasn’t been done in the past.
- Even the United Arab Emirates becoming the first country to have a Minister of Artificial Intelligence.
The panel discussed the need for market education and skills development, and that technology is not something to be afraid of. Case in point by Absa was that more jobs are being created as a result of the emerging AI market rather than job losses. IBM was also quick to jump on this and highlight the almost R$1-Billion investment in a skills development programme, Formation Africa. The platform has three components and is available for free to those with an internet connection. The first is ‘Explorers’ for those who want to learn basic internet skills, and second is Innovators who those who want to build applications using the IBM Cloud. The final component is that individuals who do the various programmes can collect badges for skills accumulated, and the platform is linked to an employment agency that advertises for jobs with these skills.
The event was shared on social media and video footage recorded of the panel speakers for follow up posts.
To view the footage, simply follow this link to our social media page.