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Promoting convergence for enhanced data intelligence

Convergence is the future of data intelligence

“Data is at the center of the digital economy”. This statement was made by Global Voice Group’s CEO, James Claude, at the 4th edition of ANGOTIC, Angola’s International Information and Communication Technologies Forum. The event held in Luanda from 13 to 15 June, under the theme “Digitalize, Connect and Innovate”, highlighted the importance of data in supporting Africa’s digital transformation and growth. Data is a precious commodity for regulatory authorities, as it supports effective decision- and policymaking. However, it is often stored in silos, which limits regulators’ ability to make informed decisions. Data convergence helps integrate the data to create a comprehensive and actionable intelligence framework. Promoting convergence for enhanced data intelligence is therefore a key step for regulatory authorities to build their capacities.

Promoting convergence for enhanced data intelligence

Data intelligence is at the forefront of organizations and authorities’ agendas. The comprehensive process of collecting, integrating, analyzing, and leveraging data to optimize operations, and drive strategic initiatives is crucial in the current ecosystem. It involves using advanced technologies, such as AI, ML and data analytics, to transform raw data into actionable insights, which benefits stakeholders in both the private and public spheres.

James Claude, CEO of Global Voice Group (GVG), attended the 4th edition of ANGOTIC, where he participated in the “Digital Intelligence: Intelligent Convergence” panel, alongside Dr Leonardo Maia, from INATEL, Brazil; Marcos Brito, Product Manager at NOSi; and Francisco Nunes, from ITGest.

Convergence is indeed a key element for governments, empowering them to operate more effectively, provide better services, enhance data security, promote economic growth, and address challenges more efficiently. By integrating these technologies, governments can build smarter, more resilient, and more sustainable societies.

Challenges to achieving intelligent convergence

There are several challenges African countries face when it comes to promoting convergence for enhanced data intelligence. One of them (especially for regulatory authorities) is the struggle to enforce regulatory compliance due to outdated laws and regulations that do not accommodate new technologies.

Another one is the lack of unified frameworks and policies between countries. In this regard, James Claude pointed out that there is indeed “a need for harmonization of the different regulatory frameworks to generate a unified framework.” He added that one of the main difficulties is that government agencies in different countries often operate in silos – which McKinsey & Company confirms -, thus obstructing the road towards intelligent convergence.

Ensuring the security and privacy of data also poses a significant challenge, particularly with the increasing threat of cyberattacks. To this end, Claude said that data belongs to the countries and their citizens. He also stressed the importance of putting in place in-country Big Data centers to effectively collect information from different data sources and assist government agencies in improving the environment for the development of their digital economy.

There are many countries in Africa that have integrated digital solutions into their public financial management systems. According to the World Bank, technology indeed holds great potential in supporting effective taxation. Its advantages include monitoring and facilitating tax compliance, as well as improving the identification of the tax base. As a result, it can lead to increases in revenue collection due to reduced leakages and improved accountability. However, limited financial resources continue to restrict investment in necessary technologies and infrastructure when it comes to promoting convergence for enhanced data intelligence, although there have been notable strides in their digital transformation journeys, particularly in the realm of e-government services.

How GVG implements intelligent convergence

During the panel discussion, Claude commented that “it should be a priority for Governments to invest in critical infrastructure to contribute towards the development of the digital economy”. In this respect, the deployment of GVG’s solutions showcases how government agencies have benefited from intelligent convergence in key economic sectors such as the telecoms and digital financial services.

The use of Big Data analytics, the integration of IoT and Business Intelligence Technologies and Real-time Data Monitoring and Reporting have enabled enhanced regulatory compliance, increased transparency, and optimized revenue collection in countries like Zimbabwe, Uganda and Rwanda among others. These Data Lake solutions produce information that is transversal to multiple stakeholders.
In the case of Zimbabwe, this translates into the Postal & Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (POTRAZ) gaining comprehensive insight into the nation’s telecom ecosystem and has entailed a pivotal advancement for the regulator. This resulted in $10M in revenue generated by the solution between May 2022 and March 2024.

The use of digital intelligence in Uganda has enabled the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to verify taxable points and share access information and reports on OTT Tax. In the same line, the Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Authority (RURA) was able to curb SIM box fraud and increase the revenue generated by the international incoming traffic, seeing a 122% increase in international traffic revenue in the first year of implementation.

With these figures within GVG’s track record, Claude observed: “We have seen that investment in ICT also contributes towards the real growth of the GDP. Not only of the digital economy but of the overall domestic growth”.

Watch the video recording of Angotic’s “Digital Intelligence: Intelligent Convergence” session in both English (James Claude) and Portuguese (other participants) below.

The road towards Pan-African digital intelligence

Intelligent convergence is in the front line of digital transformation on the continent. Integrating multiple data sources and data technologies can build regulatory capacities to ensure the good governance of the digital ecosystem. In this respect, GVG’s data lake solutions have contributed to improving decision-making, regulatory compliance, transparency, and revenue collection in the telecom and digital financial service sectors of their client countries.

However, if the African Union’s vision of an integrated Africa and of a digital single market by 2030 is to be realized, pan-African digital intelligence is a crucial step. This means that the flow of data needs to be unlocked across the different African countries. This is where regulatory harmonization comes in. According to James Claude, by “having one voice and harmonizing policies and regulations, a single digital market in Africa is possible”.

Would you like to read more about the harnessing of transformative technologies for regulatory impact? Click here.