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Why digital transformation is essential in Africa

In today’s COVID-19 environment, digital transformation is about survival – the survival of your livelihood, whether that’s in your business or in your job. In 2020, it dawned on us that if you’re in lockdown with no digital skills, then you may be locked out of the economy, which has had to shift online in our current climate. – Article written by Aphiwe Mame.

When we say that the digital era has brought a fundamental shift in the global economy, what do we mean? How has technology affected our work, our play and our lives over the past year?

From celebrities going live on Instagram, to church services held on Facebook, news bulletins streamed on YouTube, couples getting wed in livestreamed ceremonies, and families staying connected on Whatsapp… online interactions took centre stage last year. These trends took off internationally and South Africans with the means to join followed suit. 

There is still much work for South Africa to do in developing the needed technological infrastructure, access and the accompanying skills. “The speed of change in science and technology demands an equal speed in acquiring the skills that the industry demands,” said Department of Communications and Digital Technologies minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams at a Youth Day webinar last month.

As a member of the BRICS grouping of rapidly developing economies, South Africa is well-positioned to become a global leader in technological innovation. How are we seeing this play out in real life?

A Rise in Influencer Marketing

In an effort to create authentic and relatable content for their marketing, brands have been partnering with digital creatives and influencers to grow the digital marketing space. These influencer marketing collaborations have proven to be lucrative for both young South African digital marketers and businesses. 

Mihlali Ndamase and Gugulethu Nyanstumba are two such online marketing personalities who have hit their stride collaborating with large brands. Ndamase is a brand strategist, certified makeup artist, and co-Founder of Siyasizana Foundation. She has teamed up with the likes of Revlon and Superbalist. Nyanstumba is a lifestyle digital content creator who has collaborated with brands such as Always and Avon.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg in the beauty industry. The range of industries in which influencers now work spans from beauty to books, from gaming to sports, from energy to transportation, from fitness to food, and from grooming to streetgear. Companies are throwing open the doors of opportunity for those willing to learn digital skills, build an audience and market themselves strategically.

With customers being discouraged to leave home, it has become essential for businesses to use technology to create alternative avenues of communication and engagement. It turns out that these online channels could also enhance their service offering and their bottom line.

According to research conducted by Citrix, 92% of companies across South Africa’s key industries agree that digital adoption directly affects company profits. Experts predict that digitisation will continue to grow post-COVID-19. 

Now more than ever, digital transformation is a critical transformation for all businesses, brands, and enterprises. With the right approach, businesses can come out of this stronger, more agile, and more customer-centric than before.

As we delve into this new digital culture, it will be key for us is to observe, learn, understand, and then become involved to create new opportunities for businesses and for ourselves. 

If you’re looking to learn digital marketing skills, start where your audience is likely to be – Facebook. Kick off your studies with a classroom right in the palm of your hand, on our Whatsapp bot, Naledi