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Siemens launches report on ‘Dawn of Digitalization and its Impact on Africa

Siemens launches report on ‘Dawn of Digitalization and its Impact on Africa

African countries must act quickly and decisively to become leaders on the global economic stage. Digitalization is providing the continent with the opportunity to accelerate growth and rapidly expand struggling economies – but it’s a small window and decision-makers must get a strategy in place now in order to succeed.

Siemens (www.Siemens.com), in conjunction with Frost & Sullivan, have put together a comprehensive research project outlining the current state of key industries across the continent and identifying challenges and opportunities.

The study, named ‘The dawn of digitalization and its impact on Africa’, considers growth predictions and where the adoption of smart technology would be most beneficial in expanding industries to drive sustainable growth. For the purpose of this study, focus was placed on four key sectors: Water, Manufacturing, Mining and Minerals, and Food and Beverage.

Some of the key findings in the report are:

  • The adoption of digital technologies, innovation as well as a range of digital customer offerings are expected to remain varied across industries, markets and geographies. The extent and impact of digital technologies is also expected to vary, favouring businesses and industries that seek relevance and increasing contribution in international markets in addition to existing domestic markets.

  • While advanced analytics and digitalization are witnessing growing adoption across certain industry sectors, such as the automotive sector, there is a real opportunity for adoption of these across industry sectors such as the mining and food & beverage industry which are significant contributors to major African economies.

  • Manufacturing, while the most mature in its transformation and adoption of digital technologies in Africa, remains a marginal player struggling to make a bigger impact on country GDPs. The question governments need to ask themselves is how they align a ‘here-and-now’ emphasis on job creation with the necessary focus on digitalization. This will enable Africa to create a niche within the global economy. If we fail to pro-actively select our place within the global manufacturing industry, we run the risk of continuing on this path of non-industrialization.

  • In the water industry, expenditure in water infrastructure has been low when compared to the global average. Inadequate investment in infrastructure coupled with poor water utility management has resulted in a greater need for development of the water sector.

  • In the mining industry which has been witnessing subdued investment, rising cost pressures and increasing labour issues, a combination of mechanization, efficient extraction of resources and better use of data can make it easier for mine operators to cut costs and create a leaner and more efficient mining operation. As such, the successful incorporation of technology will be possible through collaborative efforts of technology providers, industry, research institutes and organizations that work for uplifting the mining industry.

  • A stable supply of electricity is critical for digitalization to flourish. By providing high levels of infrastructure and power supply, Africa will be able to attract the necessary investment across various industry sectors.

The urban population in Africa is expected to grow to 56% in 2050, from 35% in 2010. This rapid urbanization will require robust infrastructure to ensure these expanding cities are hubs of growth and commerce, and not still trying to catch up with basic necessities.

According to Ralf Leinen, Senior Vice President Digital Industries for Southern and Eastern Africa, “For the first time in history we have an incredible opportunity to use smart technology to transform entire economies at an unprecedented rate. Africa needs to get efficient strategies in place now in order to succeed.”

In the wake of changing business dynamics, rapidly evolving technology and increasing competition, collaborative efforts between governments, industry, businesses (local and international), labour and academia is vital for creating an environment that is conducive to developing sustainability of local businesses, encourages technology upskilling, innovation, knowledge sharing  and execution.  

The findings from the study are just a starting point. Siemens hopes it will begin a dialogue and provide a framework to some of the unique opportunities that exist.


Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Siemens AG.

Media Contact:
Head of Corporate Communications
Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa
Keshin Govender
Tel: 011 652-2412
Email: keshin.govender@siemens.com

Separate Summaries of each Sector detailed in the Report:

1. Water and Wastewater sector

Situation Snapshot
Less than 1 % of the world’s water is potable. Africa has the largest number of water-scarce countries in the world. Most of the continent relies on rainfall and surface water for water supply. Many existing fresh water sources have been polluted to the extent that access to clean water stands at ±51%. Water scarcity is a rapidly growing problem for the continent and water projects only account for 1.3% of total infrastructure investment in Africa.

Siemens Solutions
In the water sector, Siemens aims to promote greater awareness, among customers and end-users, of the other uses of Siemens flow meters such as water leakage detection, pipeline water management and irrigation flow measurement. By optimizing existing infrastructure, Africa can quickly and efficiently increase access to water. As experts in water applications, we offer powerful, innovative technical solutions.

Siemens has provided South Africa with simple, flexible flow solutions for more than 30 years. Siemens flow meters combine world-class performance with a low cost of ownership, tailored for the toughest water applications. Siemens assists the Water Boards in efficiently measuring water usage which improves productivity and ultimately the financial health of the Water Boards

Siemens’ high-precision volume measurement flow meters are used by various Water Boards across South Africa, such as  Rand Water, East Rand Water Care Company (ERWAT), Lepelle Northern Water, Umgeni Water, Johannesburg Water.

Siemens Smart Metering helps in Water Balancing:
• Designed for Water Industry Application
• One battery driven water meter DN 25 – 600 (1” – 24”)
• 10 years battery operation & AC + battery backup

For more information: Siemens.com/water

2. Food and Beverage sector

Situation Snapshot
The urban population in Africa is expected to grow to 56% in 2050, from 35% in 2010. This rapid urbanization combined with preference shifts towards formal retail will drive demand for FMCG products.

Globally and in Africa, the industry has been dominated by large multinational players. High import duties, free trade agreements and rebates in the form of tax incentives are increasingly being adopted in order to drive local manufacturing growth. This, along with numerous SME accelerator programmes, is evolving this sector to be more dynamic and an enabler of economic growth.

Examples of local SMEs include microbreweries in the beverage industry, which has increased competition and an increase in price sensitivity due to these microbreweries catering to more niche markets.

Siemens Solutions
Food and beverage manufacturers must consider many factors: a consistently high level of product quality, maximum plant availability, optimum resource efficiency – and, increasingly, the greatest possible flexibility in order to meet more and more individual customer requirements.

Mastering all these challenges today and in the future is possible only with digitalization.

A good example of Siemens technology being used to improve plant efficiency is in the beer industry.

SIMATIC PCS 7 with BRAUMAT craft brewing libraries is designed specifically for this sector and employs automation to streamline the entire production process.

The system monitors the brew quality, which is made possible with automatically stored production data and analysis  tools. Advantages include increased production, improved quality, repeatability and consistency. This is done by automating labour-intensive tasks which have historically been done manually. Alongside automomation, Siemens runs various upskilling programmes to ensure staff grow with the company and are enabled to thrive in an increasingly digitalized environment.

For more information: Siemens.com/food-beverage

3. Mining Sector

Situation Snapshot
Historically, mining is one of the key economic drivers for many African nations. Over the past few years this sector has come under pressure due to subdued investment, rising cost pressures and increasing labour issues.

The crippling strikes over the last few years have gradually pushed mining companies towards implementing mechanization on a larger scale to improve cost efficiency and remain globally competitive.

Though gold mining is declining in South Africa, studies show that a total of 496 Mt of the 592 Mt gold resources can be mined with mechanized processes.  This is equivalent to 11 large gold mines.

Since 2000, over 75% of new base metal discoveries found were at depths more than 300m. Only Automation can improve safety and efficiency to ensure mining remains a sustainable economic driver going forward.

Siemens Solutions
The challenges confronting the globalized mining industry – now and in the future – can only be mastered by raising productivity and by reducing operating and extraction costs. Ever stricter environmental regulations must also be met and safe working conditions ensured.

Enhanced Productivity with reduced maintenance & service costs
SIMINE portfolio with complete electrical engineering, drive automation and service packages that increase productivity, improve drive system efficiency and reduce energy costs.

Optimizing Conveyor Belt Systems
Use of digital simulation tools to reveal the dynamic behavior of the whole system which allows improvements to be made in system operation while also minimizing idle times.

Optimized Processes and Operation
SIMATIC PCS7 with its open, flexible and scalable architecture forms the basis of the Minerals Automation Standard that aims at improvements in competitiveness, through optimized productivity, plant availability and efficiency.

Condition Monitoring Systems
SIPLUS CMS for the early detection of damage to machine and plants which aids in decision making for maintenance staff, operators and management.

Equipment availability and efficiency
At the Sentinel Copper Mine in Zambia Siemens has implemented a SIMINE Gearless mill drive with SIMATIC PCS7 mill automation that has resulted in an operational efficiency of 95.3% in addition to lower operating costs, minimized downtimes and improved reliability.

Automation for underground mining
At the Freeport McMoran Grasberg copper and gold mine in Indonesia, SIMATIC PCS7 was installed for the DCS that controls eleven production trains and five service locomotives. The automation system allows to minimize production loss in the transition from open-pit to underground mining

Asset Health Analytics
Siemens’ Asset Health Analytics creates a foundation that allows equipment like conveyors, ball mills and crushers to supply additional data. Analysis of this data provides information that allows for fact-based maintenance decisions in real time while also planning maintenance and service measures.

In the past, enhancing operational excellence in the mining industry often meant cutting costs. Today, modern technology opens up new ways to set new benchmarks in productivity. Leading mining companies all over the world rely on state-of-the-art automation, energy, and drilling systems to increase mining intensity with reduced personnel and energy costs. Some of them are able to achieve energy savings of 10 to 40% through renewable energy installations, innovative energy technologies, and highly automated mining processes.

In addition, Siemens also created The Digital Mining Incubator, which is a co-creation space focused on developing mining engineering competence. The incubator is integrated into the Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct and is aimed at upskilling young individuals who have an interest in the mining sector, as well as disadvantaged individuals interested in actively participating in the future of mining. Together with mentors from Wits, Tshimologong and Siemens, students are enabled with the necessary tools and skills to effectively transform and develop the South African mining sector.

For more information: Siemens.com/mining

4. Manufacturing sector

Situation Snapshot
Growing GDP per capita is expected to boost local demand for manufactured goods while also providing the opportunity to create export-driven manufacturing setups. Local demand alone is not expected to justify investment in the sector.

African countries are rich in mineral resources which are exported without much value addition and as such have a lower market value. Finished goods are then imported at a much higher price.

Countries are losing out on valuable foreign exchange. Hence, the focus is to develop industries and supply chains that can add value to these raw materials and contribute in a greater way to the local economy.

Siemens Solutions
To succeed in the future Africa needs to seize the opportunities provided by digitalization right now. Digitalization promises lower costs, improved production quality, flexibility and efficiency. It brings a shorter response time to customer requests and market demands. Productivity and energy efficiency can increase thanks to an integrated power supply. Solutions for the digital enterprise are already here – regardless of the sector or company size.

Siemens Digital Twin
The digital twin in the automotive industry is the precise virtual model of a vehicle or a production plant. It displays their development throughout the entire lifecycle and allows operators to predict behavior, optimizing performance, and implement insights from previous design and production experiences.

Siemens offers the digital twin of product, production and performance that helps reduce the number of prototypes, predict performance of production and products through a combination of domain expertise and optimized tools.

In South Africa Siemens technology automates, drives and intelligently controls assembly lines, paint shops and body shops. Siemens also plays in integral role in the manufacturing process of the upstream automotive segment with industrial control technology playing a role in the automotive component and the tyre manufacturing industry

Siemens digitalization solutions make it easier for manufacturing entities to adapt quickly to new market situations and evolving technology while ensuring greater flexibility in meeting customer specific requirements

For more information: Siemens.com/future-of-manufacturing

Siemens Digital Industries

For Siemens, digitalisation is much more than a business field; it is a growth driver. With our broad range of offerings across energy, manufacturing and transportation, we’re ideally equipped for the era of digitalisation. We have much to offer Africa.

The Siemens Operating Company Digital Industries (DI) is an innovation leader in automation and digitalisation. With its Digital Enterprise portfolio, DI provides companies of all sizes with an end-to-end set of products, solutions and services to integrate and digitalise the entire value chain.

Optimised for the specific needs of each industry, DI’s unique portfolio supports customers to achieve greater productivity and flexibility. DI is constantly adding innovations to its portfolio to integrate cutting-edge future technologies. Siemens Digital Industries has its global headquarters in Nuremberg, Germany, and has around 78,000 employees internationally.

About Siemens AG:
Siemens AG
(Berlin and Munich) (www.Siemens.com) is a global technology powerhouse that has stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality for more than 170 years. The company is active around the globe, focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization. One of the largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies, Siemens is a leading supplier of efficient power generation and power transmission solutions and a pioneer in infrastructure solutions as well as automation, drive and software solutions for industry. With its publicly listed subsidiary Siemens Healthineers AG, the company is also a leading provider of medical imaging equipment – such as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging systems – and a leader in laboratory diagnostics as well as clinical IT. In fiscal 2018, which ended on September 30, 2018, Siemens generated revenue of €83.0 billion and net income of €6.1 billion. At the end of September 2018, the company had around 379,000 employees worldwide. Further information is available on the Internet at www.Siemens.com.

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