Q – C5’s Shield in the Cloud Innovation Challenge was established in 2018, and having just announced the 2019 Shield in the Cloud Winners, what are the goals and motivations behind this event?
André Pienaar: The objective of the SITC is to recognise bold leadership and innovative, cloud-based solutions in combatting corruption on the world stage. Corruption can be defeated, and innovative technologies are creating new opportunities to tackle this corruption. Shield in the Cloud’s aim is to recognise and nurture the next phase of innovation and to encourage building networks and information sharing for solving complex challenges.
Q – How important is Shield in the Cloud, and events like it, in combating corruption and improving transparency worldwide?
André Pienaar: Tackling corruption is a complex and multidimensional task, and working as a collective can only make tackling it stronger. The Shield in the Cloud is about recognizing the organizations that are developing new technologies and applications. By working together, we can make policy and decision makers aware of what can be done.
Q – Next year, the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) will enter it’s 25th year, yet there are a number of countries, such as Zimbabwe and Iran, which remain stubbornly low on that list. How do you think that technological innovations can help improve this in these countries specifically?
André Pienaar: Innovation empowers actors and local communities to push for more transparency which is a major factor in taking power away from corrupt governments. Innovative technology empowers citizens by allowing them to participate directly in solutions; this level of control and active engagement directly makes a difference at the local level, and this is where the best solutions take hold over the long term. As corruption is becoming increasingly complex, these technologies fight through that complexity.