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ANGOLA - Telecoms & IT

Lutuima Vaz da Conceiçao

CEO, New Cognito

Bio

Lutuima Vaz da Conceição is an experienced professional with over two decades of experience working in a global, fast-paced technology environment. With a Master’s degree in Computer Science and a proven track record in leading business development, projects and operations in the IT sector, both in Europe and Africa, he has demonstrated the ability to effectively lead cross-functional teams, defining and implementing structured strategies to meet business objectives, collaborating with Mitrelli Group over the past 14 years. An expert in consulting and management of security services in information technology, Lutuima currently holds the position of country manager of New Cognito Angola, leading the operation and implementing large-scale projects linked to the IT and telecommunications sectors in different countries.

"We have a training plan for all our employees and draw up development plans based on their career track, their area, and their skills."
TBY talks to Lutuima Vaz da Conceiçao, CEO of New Cognito, about the firm’s history, digital transformation, and plans for the coming years.
New Cognito is a leading technology firm in Angola providing a range of services. Can you elaborate on its history and how it has evolved over the years?

The company was originally called Tel-IT, a year ago, we adopted the name New Cognito as part of our international rebranding process. Historically, we started in the telecoms industry with the implementation of a cellular solution for the country. We also worked a great deal in telecoms infrastructure. For example, in terms of satellites, we deployed over 1,500 VSATs across the country as part of a project for the main telecom provider in Angola. The goal was to connect all the municipalities of Angola, including small villages, with data and voice, via satellite. We also worked extensively to deploy Angola’s microwave network. We handled the routes from Luanda to Cabinda in order to serve major oil companies. We also worked in the south and inland. We mostly started with government institutions, as well as the financial services sector, including the most significant financial entity in Angola, and worked on the networking and part of their systems, such as building their data centers, their computing capacities, backup and storage, digital environments, and the software and systems to support their businesses. The last major project we worked on was a turnkey solution for a Ministry which included one of the most advanced tier III data centers that played a key role in accomplishing the goal for which it was designed. Around 2012, we started to see more activity, with the spread of company websites and online banking services. We started to see a major opportunity in the cybersecurity area and developed the first security operations center (SOC), the first one to be hosted locally. Some of the biggest companies in the world are spending over USD1 billion on cybersecurity, and though Angola is not there yet, the mindset is gradually changing.

New Cognito is committed to providing education and training on cybersecurity best practices. How do you incorporate education and training into your services?

We have a training plan for all our employees and draw up development plans based on their career track, their area, and their skills. It includes a plan for growing and assessing their capabilities and working toward their goals. We also provide training in soft skills as well as specific skills for cybersecurity professionals, cyber analysts, or chief information security officers. We have already seen many Angolan talents who went on to become project managers or heads of divisions. This can be a challenging initiative because we have to strike the right balance in terms of finding and training talent and retaining them in the company, because sometimes after they acquire more skills, they move on to other companies. We need to ensure we continue to motivate them to stay and keep them updated.

From your perspective, where does Angola lie currently when it comes to digital transformation?

Angola has established the Institute for Administrative Modernization (IMA) and is employing the best practices for digital transformation and e-government. Europe is providing us with the guidelines to succeed quickly. There is greater awareness and buzz is there, and many people are talking about disruption and digital transformation. We are making large investments as part of the Mitrelli Group and also bringing in financing for other projects. One of our biggest goals is to increase and improve physical connectivity in Angola across the first level, in partnership with government institutions.

What are your goals for 2023, and what are your plans for the coming years as well?

One of our biggest plans is to reinforce our position as the market leader in cybersecurity and be the number one go-to company when a bank, an insurance company, a retailer, or a hospital, wants an assessment of where they stand and seeks a solution. We are already there in certain industries, though we want to expand globally to all industries. We also want to use our cybersecurity know-how that we are creating in Angola to start developing solutions for other countries in Africa. In addition, we want to continue to be the number-one partner of the Angolan government in reaching and concretizing digital transformation. We provide the infrastructure of communications to create and ensure everything is in place for data to be transferred. We are working with the ministries in charge of this to implement the country’s plans. We want to reinforce our capacities in delivering software solutions for Angola. In the next three to four years, New Cognito will be a key player in implementing Angola’s technology and innovation goals.

 

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