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Towards a digital transformation that integrates humanity

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for a Europe fit for the Digital Age during the public lecture on Human Centric Digitization.

She is renowned for fiercely taking on Apple, Amazon and Google; for her efforts, in 2016, the Commission for Competition ordered Apple to pay €13 billion in unpaid taxes and fined Google a penalty of €4.34bn for abuse of market power. Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for a Europe fit for the Digital Age, a position she took up in 2019, has also been the European Union (EU) Commissioner for Competition Policy since 2014.

Ms. Vestager was at Strathmore University on Friday, February 28, 2020, for a public lecture on Human Centric Digitization. She engaged students and staff on the importance of humans in the digital transformation, data protection and citizen digital rights, social justice and the use of technology in climate change adaptation.

“An estimated 15 to 20 million increasingly well-educated young people are expected to join the African workforce every year for the next three decades. But it is clear that digital technology is demanding and will generate high demand for a qualified workforce not only in the ICT industry, but also across all sectors in which ICT can be used,” she said.

Human-centric digital transformation

Digitization is transforming societies, human interactions, politics, and the economy. A human centric digital transformation ensures that humanity comes before technology. “Therefore, in order to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and leaders, and to fully participate in the digital world, Africa’s population and young people particularly need to acquire relevant skills and access to technology and markets that will allow them to be fully involved in this new economy. That is why education and skills are so crucial,” she continued.

A week ago, the EU released a new Digital Strategy while the African Union recently adopted its Digital Transformation Strategy in 2019. Digital solutions that put people first will open up new opportunities for businesses, boost the development of trustworthy technology, foster an open and democratic society, enable a vibrant and sustainable economy and help fight climate change and achieve the green transition.

“I am glad to see that thanks to the spirit brought by the New Africa-EU Alliance we have reached a convergence between both continents where the work of the African-EU Digital Economy Task Force also played an important role.”

Present at the lecture were: Kim Jørgensen, Head of Cabinet of Executive Vice-President; Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society; Simon Mordue, Head of EU Delegation in Kenya; Katrin Hagemann, Deputy Head of the Delegation in Kenya; Guy Harrison, Head of Political, Press & Information at the EU delegation; Beatrice Hongo Press and Information Officer; Dr. Vincent Ogutu, Vice Chancellor Designate; Prof. Izael Da Silva, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation); Dr. Edward Mungai, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Development); Betty Ngala, Director, University Relations & Communications Office; Eric Saulo, Director of Partnerships; James Kimeu, Director, Strathmore University Foundation (SUF) and Antony Mbandi, Manager, SUF.

The European Union-Strathmore partnership began when the EU gave a grant for the construction of the Ole Sangale campus in the early 1990s. We look forward to further collaboration.


This article was written by Wambui Gachari. 

If you have a story, kindly email: communications@strathmore.edu