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  • Writer's pictureOCLAS

A throwback with Cina Lawson

In October 2021, Cina Lawson was awarded 'The Woman of the Year' award at the Fisher Center for Business Analytics at UC Berkeley for her emergency response and financial inclusion program in leveraging mobile technology, artificial intelligence, satellite imagery, cell phone metadata, and machine learning to identify and enrol the most vulnerable Togolese citizens to receive digital cash support.

This was during the COVID Pandemic when the entire Togolese economy was paralyzed, as indicated in the World Bank’s first Economic Update for Togo.

Togolese businesses, both SMEs and larger corporations, felt the resulting economic and social crisis. NOVISI stood as the intervention providing relief and hope during the uncertainty. Cina Lawson and her team launched the digital emergency cash transfer program (NOVISI), which dispersed an estimated $34 million in financial aid to more than 920,000 vulnerable people. Lawson also launched the Togolese Digital Agency (Agence Togo Digitale ATD) to foster the emergence of a digital innovation ecosystem in Togo in 2021.

Prior to this in 2017 Lawson launched the presidential initiative CIZO to provide solar electricity to all citizens, a brilliant step towards implementing green solar energy in Togo.

Cina Lawson was given the Les Napoléons Awards for 'The Most Innovative Person of the Year in January 2019 and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Alumni Public Service Award in May 2019 -the first female African political figure to do so since it was established in 1997, in recognition of her public service as a minister in Togo- notably her contribution in developing the country's digital economy and ICT sector.

During her appointment as Minister of Posts, Digital Economy and Technological innovation between 2010-2021 electronic and communications law, the electronic transaction law, the cybersecurity law, the law on personal data protection, the biometric identification law, the decree on citizen payment digitization, and the law on digitization passed. Lawson appeared among the top 55 "African Doers" compiled by Tropics Magazine, among other public figures deemed to have contributed significantly to the continent's dynamism in 2016.

With the plan to reorganize Togo's historic landline telecommunications operator Togo, Telecom and its mobile arm Togocel. Cina Lawson set up systems that led to the fusion into one organization with a strong internal structure.

Lawson was actively involved in youth empowerment as can be seen in the early digitization efforts focused on young entrepreneurs. She launched The Togo Youth Entrepreneur Forum in 2013 with the goal of providing young Togolese entrepreneurs with the theoretical and technical skills necessary to create enterprises in Togo. Cina Lawson was named a "Young Global Leader" by the World Economic Forum In March 2012 Cina Lawson was featured in current affairs magazine Jeune Afrique's list of the "25 most influential women in African business" in May 2013.

Cina Lawson is the Minister of Digital Economy and Transformation, advancing Togo considerably towards the transition to an inclusive digital economy.


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