Kenya's top tech gurus feted in Diani

Absa Bank Kenya Head of Change Angela Waliaula (left),  Absa's Chief Technology Officer (CIO) Moses Okundi (centre) and Network Infrastructure Engineer Vincent Ngai (left) pose for a photo during the dx100 awards in Diani, Kwale County.

Photo credit: Siago Cece I Nation Media Group

Kenya’s leaders in the technology sector are pushing Africa to accelerate digital transformation to improve the economy and people's lives.

The leaders spoke during the annual dx100 Symposium and Awards (formerly CIO 100 Awards) that saw over 300 key technology leaders from different industries across Africa gather to network, learn and recognise their peers for exemplary work.

The annual awards, organised by tech group Dx5 (formerly CIO Africa) recognise 100 organisations and people in them who are using technology in interesting and innovative ways that bring value to the business.

This year, Absa Bank’s Moses Okundi was named the chief technology officer of the year at an event in Diani, Kwale County.

Mr Okundi expressed his gratitude as he stressed the importance of digital transformation in Kenya.

“I am ecstatic about the award. Digital transformation creates efficiency and improves how people work and helps boost the economy, since everyone has a mobile phone,” he said.

“If we can transform our technology, then we will expand the reach across the country from the rich to the poor.”

The award attracted entrants from the banking sector, hospitality, the public sector, education, and infrastructure, among others.

Other discussions were on cybersecurity, software as a service, financial technology (fintech), smart data and smart infrastructure.

Dx5 Group CEO Kelly Bentley said it was key for African companies to unite to create a network that will see technologists work together for the benefit of the continent.

“The biggest challenge is that Africans still operate in silos where the East, West, and South work in their own individuality instead of working together as a continent,” she said.

“We need to share ideas on how we can leverage technology and skills to help grow the continent as a whole. That is why it is key to place platforms for innovative leaders to connect on how to work together for the benefit of Africa.”

Dx5 co-founder Harry Hare said Kenya has a good digital infrastructure but should improve the limited skills available, calling for higher education institutions to scale adapt their curriculums to fit the digital world.

“Our universities need to work with the industry to build requisite skills that are useful for the world today and not those that were used for the last 10 years,” Mr Hare said.

For the digital transformation process to be successful, he added, there people, places, skills, technology and data need to be properly aligned.

He also highlighted the importance of government agencies such as the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) or Immigration to synchronise their data to have only one source.

List of winners

Manufacturing Sector Award      BAT Kenya PLC

Hospitality Sector Award            JAVA House Africa

Public Sector Award                   Agricultural Finance Corporation

Education Sector Award             Shule Pepe Ltd

Infrastructure Award                  Absa Bank Kenya Plc

Banking Sector Award                Equity Bank, Kenya

Sacco Sector Award                    Stima Sacco DT Society Ltd

Health Sector Award                   Amref Health Africa

Retail Sector Award                    Naivas Ltd

Insurance Sector Award             Jubilee Insurance

Green Edge Awards                     Ministry of Water and Environment (Uganda)

Technology Partner Awards         Safaricom Plc

Overall Company of the Year       Diageo Plc-Africa

CISO of the Year                         Thelma Kganakga, Group CISO, Equity Bank (K) Ltd

CXO of the Year                          Hector Tamez, Head of Manufacturing East Africa, BAT

CIO of the Year                            Chief Technology Officer (CIO), Absa Bank