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Technological Sovereignty and Security in a Digital World: Solutions to Tomorrow’s Challenges
24 October 2019
09:00—10:30
KEY CONCLUSIONS
African countries need to get their own technological competencies developed

Our willingness to develop our competencies is our most important issue and strongest advantage at the same time. We plan to bring together the ministers of security of Southern African region to discuss together how can we move forward and what ideas we can exchange. And we also understand that our partners have more competencies than we have in certain areas. For instance, technological security and the development of applications and systems that will help us protect our people, protect our sovereignty, tackle various issues, respond to the variety of challenges that our countries face — H.E. Ayanda Dlodlo, Minister of State Security of the Republic of South Africa (RSA).

Russia helps African countries ensure technological sovereignty

We already have supplied our cloud tech to Burundi. It allows editing documents. In fact, it is a technology similar to Microsoft’s one, but only unlike the technology that U.S. companies provide, it is entirely in Burundi and under the control of the presidential administration. <...> Today we are signing an agreement with the Democratic Republic of Congo and will move forward — Dmitriy Komissarov, General Director, New Cloud Technologies.

We help our colleagues from other countries develop data centres and create geoinformation portals for monitoring and managerial decision-making. <...> The case we ran in Angola was in agriculture. In the context of population growth, the issue of increasing the food base and developing agriculture is extremely important. For example, new technologies and new solutions allow us to control plant growth more effectively. Now, using unmanned technologies, you can track every part of your field, decide to apply fertilizers locally, use resources more efficiently and involve the population — Pavel Stepanov, Deputy General Director, Geoscan.

I would build a system based on proprietary competences. It is only when you have your own experts, who know what you have inside out, you can build a protected system. <...> It is very important to have proprietary competencies. We, for example, spend a lot of energy on training when working on projects. And this is not just academic training: we take a specific area, for example, a hacker hacking into a bank, and we hold seminars to train bank employees in these technologies — Boris Simis, Deputy Chief Executive Officer for Business Development, Positive Technologies.

ISSUES
African technological dependency

This is the problem of monopolizing the telecom market. Companies from a huge country with banking support from that country come in and say: we will allow you to launch the network quickly, we will improve competition, launch the second, third, fourth operator, but it will be a "black box". The network is launched quickly, after that engineers from the same country come to support this network, and then if something out of the ordinary occurs, as a result of which it is necessary to support this network independently, it turns out to be an insurmountable problem for this operator. Subsequently, it generates problems for the country. Local staff does not grow, national competencies are not acquired — Vladimir Freinkman, Vice President for Marketing and Business Development, PROTEI.

SOLUTIONS
Developing BRICS technological agenda

If we keep BRICS bank involved in finance innovation, technological development and technological advances, it would bear fruit. <...> Let's look at the introduction of technologies into the BRICS agenda so that everyone understands that this is really the direction of development. We are talking not only about the BRICS Bank, but also about the [international, – Ed.] Bank for Reconstruction and Development, because the technological agenda holds great potential for the development of our countries — H.E. Ayanda Dlodlo, Minister of State Security of the Republic of South Africa (RSA).

It is important to develop the technological agenda of the BRICS countries, our five countries. The BRICS has been quite successful in some areas, but in terms of technical measurement, there are still many things that need to be developed and adapted — Andrey Bezrukov, President, Technological Sovereignty Exports Association .

Providing national control for data collecting and using

At the very least, we need to control software solutions. <...> We need to move towards the idea that the state itself, or a company big or small, should control the data that belongs [to it, – Ed.] — Dmitriy Komissarov, General Director, New Cloud Technologies.

Information about infrastructure facilities and territories, geoinformation data – this is extremely sensitive information. From our experience we understand that data processing centres, obtaining this data, should be located in the state and controlled directly by the state in a closed infrastructure with the ability to make decisions, analyze and monitor these changes — Pavel Stepanov, Deputy General Director, Geoscan.

State support of innovative technologies

Favorable environment from the point of view of legislation, is created in the form of incubation hubs for startups, for technology companies. <...> Without the enabling environment that is created by the government, the economy will not grow, and innovations will not thrive — H.E. Ayanda Dlodlo, Minister of State Security of the Republic of South Africa (RSA).

Initial investment and the initial training of the partner are two most important points when forming a partnership. You need to train technicians, they need to administer the solution, support the solution, they need to be able to sell the solution. It is this support that would matter the most for small companies. <...> If we are talking about the African continent, the formation of one, two, or three such centres of competence, where Russian and African technology companies could train those partners who carry on working on their own – this is what the government could help — Dmitriy Komissarov, General Director, New Cloud Technologies.

Equal financial conditions are of utmost importance. Here we hope that our states, i.e. both sides. <...> The customer should get access to (credit - Ed.) resources to allow adequate choice in the market, so that unfair conditions of financing would not be the criteria for choosing the "black box" — Vladimir Freinkman, Vice President for Marketing and Business Development, PROTEI.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS