The annual conference AidEx Nairobi kindly invited our Regional Representative for Horn & East Africa, Jane Muyundo, to be a panel speaker on the question, ‘What opportunities, promises and impediments does the digital revolution present for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030?’
The digital revolution presents unprecedented opportunities and benefits in terms of infrastructure, applications and data, but also poses several thorny challenges, issues and dilemmas. The session laid out the basic context and expectations with regards to digital developments and technology (including the digital divide and the position of women), and how these may impact on meeting the SDGs by 2030.
The panel, moderated by Jennifer Nyanjui, Global Director of Technology, One Acre Fund, counted on two other prominent speakers with experience in applying technology to complex environments – Kigen Korir, Programme Officer for Adolescents and Youth, UNFPA Kenya, Johnni Kjelsgaard, CEO & Founder, Growth Africa.
During the lively session, the panel agreed that whilst the digital revolution shows great promise and potential to be an enabler to achieve the SDGs, digital innovation in health will only successfully contribute to the goals when supported by a viable framework. The discussion also highlighted the challenges of rolling out the use of new digital applications, including the availability of broadband and internet accessibility in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), protecting personal data, and the ever-present threat of cyber-crime, as illustrated by the recent high-profile cyber-attacks on the National Health Service in the UK. The speakers also acknowledged that the widespread introduction of digital technology into state infrastructure and processes should always consider the level of development that the state has reached in its journey towards achieving the SDGs.
‘One of the biggest challenges is having the resources needed to achieve the intended goals.’
Jane Muyundo, PSA
The audience was interested in the role of education in supporting the technological revolution. This is of special importance in the Health Supply Chain sector, where professionalisation is only starting to be formalised. In many settings, we already find that technology is being applied without appropriate training of the users.
As noted during the keynote session, many advances continue to be made in East Africa thanks to development partners and the commitment of health workers. We thank AidEx Nairobi for leaving us with that sense of hope and responsibility and for this opportunity to encounter many of our own trusted partners in this engaging event.
If you would like our team to speak at your event, please, use the contact form available on this page.