After the telecoms sector was disrupted by mobile telephony, all eyes turned to the financial sector, but few people seem to even be wondering about what's next. Could it be healthcare? What about education?
Sihlalo Jordan, deputy chief executive officer for Deloitte Africa, told the African News Agency (ANA) on Thursday that it was not only inevitable that the next wave of disruption would reach these sectors, but highly desirable. In an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum's Africa meetings, which are being held in Durban until Friday, Jordan said it might take some time in healthcare because of regulatory and legacy issues.
"Most governments see themselves as the primary healthcare provider in their markets, so they have created regulations and policy that actually inhibit the rise of digital solutions and technology." Much like the financial services sector, he said, regulation was driven by policies written "maybe 20, 30 years ago not for the 21st century".
Jordan said what was needed was for governments to realise that the private sector was not their competition. Government should, he added, create an ecosystem where citizens and business – "particularly in the private sector, pharmas and other solution providers" – could come together to provide solutions on the ground. He said it was not only possible but "absolutely critical" for governments to stop positioning themselves as the only solution providers.
He pointed out that governments were not usually at the forefront of the biggest and most revolutionary technology solutions. If he was a public policymaker, Jordan said, he would look into the ecosystem and ask: "Who can help me enable various things, different channels, speed to market and so on." Jordan said he would provide the platform and build private sector solutions onto that.
This begs the question: Could this be applied to education? Same thing, he replied, "absolutely critical". In education, Jordan said, the opportunity arose in Africa to completely dismantle the previous models we had around education, where you had a classroom, teacher systems, government departments and the attendant huge bills and unions and so on.
"What you could have is digital solutions that bypass traditional ways of teaching and learning, that gives rise to power in the hands of the people who need it, the citizens the people in the classrooms."African News Agency