During this session, the speakers presented stories from their respective countries regarding their transformation journey in the digital age. They spoke about how the journey has been and the lessons they have drawn out of the process. They shared practical actions for governments, civil society, and business could consider in being responsive to some of the policy and governance challenges Africa is experiencing. Discussion around the digital systems such as E-gov and Open Gov that transformed policy and what it means for government, civil society business and other urban stakeholders ensued.
Aidan Eyakuze, the Executive Director of Twaweza East Africa, argued that the best quality governance should be characterised by decisions that are inclusive, execution that is competent, and distribution of costs and rewards that is equitable. Aidan added that new media and social media are at the core of quality governance as new media is transforming governance by shaping truth and disrupting trust.
Paul Plantinga, a specialist in the Impact Centre at the Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa, discussed his three areas of research: open innovation, open research evidence and open data. He went on to explain how his work uses new digital systems to transform policy in government sectors.
Lerato D. Mataboge, the Deputy Director-General for Trade and Investment in the South African Department of Trade and Industry, highlighted that from a policy implementation standpoint, the COVID-19 pandemic has given them the opportunity to test innovative ways of doing business and reaching their stakeholders. One the country went into lockdown, the department had to start thinking about innovative ways to deliver digital solutions which would help to sustain the economy. Digital solutions helped the department to become much more inclusive and provide information to a wider audience