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Meick Afonso General Manager,  Instituto de Modernização Administrativa (IMA)

ANGOLA - Telecoms & IT

Meick Afonso

General Manager, Instituto de Modernização Administrativa (IMA)

Bio

Meick Afonso is currently the General Manager of IMA, a body under the President of the Republic of Angola charged with ensuring technological support for initiatives and projects to modernize public administration.

"We need to know our challenge, not regarding digitization but in terms of policy, and when we understand our needs, it is easier to address them. "
IMA is the specialized service in charge of designing and implementing policy measures to support Angola’s administrative modernization.
How are you facilitating the alignment between public governance and electronic governance?

We need to know our challenge, not regarding digitization but in terms of policy, and when we understand our needs, it is easier to address them. The government’s priorities determine the solutions used to integrate the ministries. That is why IMA is working with the presidency cabinet, to align with the government’s needs. We have a strategic plan until 2027 where we are already defining our strategic vision, which is our main action plan. So based on that, we are helping the government with the implementation of the digital national agenda 2027 for the digitization of public service.

NOSi and IMA-Angola intend to carry out concrete cooperative actions. How can this cooperation with Cape Verde create synergies to drive both countries to the culture of innovation?

We are conducting a reference study to comprehend existing needs. And then we study the experience and vision of other countries. One example is Cape Verde, a small country of limited resources. We study how it established electronic signature system there and how it implements ICT frameworks and tools to facilitate interaction between the government, businesses, and citizens.

What are the main needs of Angola’s technology and digitalization?

The need is to satisfy citizens and businesses, make outcomes smarter, and provide better public service. We are trying to adopt best practices and understand if all these practices are adaptable at the present or better introduced some time down the road. This will be the secret to our success in 2023. We cannot do everything at the same time, as this is wasteful of investment and potentially limits the impact of an investment. For example, for such tasks as citizen identification, social security, and visas, we need to provide a data center to support them. In Angola, each data center costs around USD10 million, and after five years we have to perform upgrades, which means an investment of around USD50 million. It will take two years to build additional data centers from scratch. This is what we are trying to do, it is not easy, but it is a happy task because every day we pursue growth and liaise more closely with government ministers. The government needs to support our service in the interests of public service and to meet market needs. The Ministry of ICT today is tasked with developing the market, by promoting the type of companies that best complement its policies. That is also IMA’s field of activity.

The government is working to create infrastructure and train qualified people. How successful can such training be for the future of Angola?

For the past 10 years, the government has pursued a strategy that creates training centers, trying to train people to be closer and more adaptive of ICT. Enabling people to use ICT tools is both difficult and costly, and the government will not be able achieve this alone. I was Director General of an information society for students before coming here. It is not easy or cheap to create a training center. What we are doing now is creating a partnership with the market. Creating centers that the private initiative will be able to promote and use. Today, in Angola where the population faces greater challenges, I am more determined than ever to bring them closer to the advantages of ICT. Meanwhile, about 35% of the population is 15 years old and quite familiar with social media. Now, the government is taking advantage of this. Citizens will be able to use a cheap smartphone using a private or operator network to access public services. If the tools are intuitive, they can learn by themselves. We need to understand our users, how they will use the platform, and appreciate the benefits it offers.

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