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AfricaCom 2021: What we need to build a digitally transformed Africa

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AfricaCom 2021: What we need to build a digitally transformed Africa

[Kampala Uganda, 15th November 2021] – Huawei Technologies hosted the Digital Africa Summit, which took place during AfricaCom, last week, with expert speakers engaging on Africa’s digital transformation, the strides made during the Covid 19 pandemic and the path still ahead.

While Africa has come far in the past 18 months in its digital transformation, there is still much potential to fully embrace digital transformation and equip the continent’s youth with the skills they need to thrive in a digital economy.

Achieving this transformation, however, means going beyond simply adapting and evolving new technologies to old ways of doing things. It requires a full commitment to a ground-up transformation without delay. When it comes to seeing the benefits of taking this fully committed approach to digital transformation, African leaders can look to examples from their own continent as well as further abroad.

As Yang Chen, VP, Huawei Southern Africa pointed out, the digital economy already accounts for more than five percent of GDP in some African countries and that number could be more than doubled in

countries that take a committed approach to digital transformation.

“Digitalisation spurs the development of new industries such as ecommerce and eGovernment,” he said. “It also disrupts existing industries to ensure lower costs and higher productivity and can empower emerging technologies like renewable energy.”

“Digital technologies also increase economic resilience against shocks like COVID-19,” he added.

That was backed up by Joe Mucheru, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communications.

“Last year, when COVID-19 hit, the ICT sector was one of the few to grow exponentially,” he said.

But in order for that resilience and the wider opportunities of digital transformation to be realised, the right kind of environment needs to be created.

“Digital transformation cannot happen unless barriers to growth are reduced or completely removed,” said Chen. “Investment in infrastructure is also key to a digitally transformed economy.”

Decision-makers, particularly in government are key to removing these barriers who often worry about the risk of putting their energy behind any one specific technology.

But, as Sharoda Rapeti, Non-Executive Director, Delta Partners pointed out, “delaying decisions creates a multitude of risks which has a massive impact on the economy.”

Instead, she suggests that governments do as much as they can to “create critical mass to put their countries on their way to a digital economy.”

The opportunity, she believes, lies in owning the verticals not yet claimed by the big technology platforms, as well as bringing digital technology to traditional areas of strength such as minerals and agriculture.

Most crucial, however, is the building of digital skills, especially among young people.

“How much are we leveraging scarce skills to build a digital economy?”, she asked.

As John Omo, Secretary-General of the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), pointed out COVID-19 illustrated how wide the skills gap is in Africa.

“It was not just the lack of access to technology, that led to African economies falling behind during the pandemic, but also the lack of skills,” he said. “This situation provoked the realisation that as much as we must increase coverage, we must address the skills among youth”

An example of a country that has successfully embraced digital transformation is China, which now has the biggest broadband network in the world and is home to the vast majority of the globe’s 5G base stations.

“China is also an example of how technology is embedded within the economy,” said Rapeti, who pointed out that mobile payments in that country now make up 16% of its GDP.

And, as Chen Hui, Deputy Director of Industry and Planning Research Institute CAICT, pointed out, the overall digital economy accounts for 38.6% of China’s GDP and employs more than 200-million people.

In Africa, some countries are seeing the benefits of digital transformation and have set it as a national priority.

Among the most countries with the most advanced digital transformation programmes are Botswana and Kenya.

“Botswana has developed a digital transformation strategy called SmartBots to deliver government services,” said Thulaganyo Merafe Segokgo , Botswana’s Minister of Transport and Communications. “Implementations of these programmes continue to help Botswana develop into a knowledge-based economy.”

The aim, he said, is to put all government services online within the next three years.

“There is the opportunity for accelerated growth with the right investments,” he added, pointing out that partnerships with private companies such as Huawei are crucial to achieving it.

According to Mucheru, Kenya intends to keep its “momentum going and speed up the development of the digital economy.” 

“We believe we can address the critical issues needed to enable a digital economy,” he added. “The government strongly believes in partnership with the private sector, including Huawei. Going forward, we will be focusing more on driving innovation at the grassroots level.”

“Every economy around the world is looking for the skills to build the digital world,” Chen concluded, adding that Africa can benefit from that. “By cultivating inclusion, we cultivate the ability to strive and progress.”

 ENDS

About Huawei

Huawei is a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices. With integrated solutions across four key domains – telecom networks, IT, smart devices, and cloud services – we are committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world.

Huawei’s end-to-end portfolio of products, solutions and services are both competitive and secure. Through open collaboration with ecosystem partners, we create lasting value for our customers, working to empower people, enrich home life, and inspire innovation in organizations of all shapes and sizes.

At Huawei, innovation focuses on customer needs. We invest heavily in basic research, concentrating on technological breakthroughs that drive the world forward. We have more than 180,000 employees, and we operate in more than 170 countries and regions. Founded in 1987, Huawei is a private company fully owned by its employees.

For more information, please visit Huawei online at www.huawei.com or follow us on:

http://www.huawei.com/za/

https://www.facebook.com/HuaweiSAR

http://www.linkedin.com/company/Huawei

http://www.google.com/+Huawei

http://www.youtube.com/Huawei

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Benon and Vamposs share rehearsal teaser videos

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The much-awaited fifth episode of Tusker Malt Conversessions is about to drop, and oh boy, it’s going to be a musical rollercoaster like no other!

The teaser videos that have been circulated on social media have left fans tapping their feet in anticipation as the dynamic duo, Benon and Vamposs, gear up to deliver a heart-warming episode.

The teaser gives us a sneak peek into the rehearsals where Benon, with his signature smile, promises fans, “just be ready for surprises, and I think people should expect a premium Benon & Vamposs.”

These two maestros have been instrumental in shaping the Ugandan music scene, and now they’re back to spill the beans on their journey, success, and maybe a bit of their infamous banter.

“The creative process has been hectic; we still have the chemistry, and I think it’s something that comes from performing together for a long time and the many years we have crafted our art…,” reveals Benon in the teaser.

But it’s not all serious. Vamposs can be heard poking fun at Benon’s love life, adding a dash of humour to the mix. “I don’t see where you even got this love that you are writing about except lying to this crowd,” he jokes.

On a more sombre note, Vamposs shares, “We have a lot of different stories. We are working with the band to see how mellow we can get. It’s not going to be all that rough,” hinting at a different stage presence which will be more intimate in comparison to their usual vibrant performances.

Music lovers should save the date; Sunday, March 3. The fifth episode of Tusker Malt Conversessions featuring Benon & Vamposs will be live on the Tusker Malt and Swangz Avenue YouTube channel at 6 pm. Don’t miss out on the chance to witness the magic, the music, and the memories.

You can also catch up on previous episodes featuring the likes of Kenneth Mugabi, Lilian Mbabazi, The Mith, and Juliana both YouTube pages.

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Ronald Mayinja reveals the inspiration behind his classic song “Necklace”

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Renowned Ugandan singer Ronald Mayinja has shared the story behind his popular song “Necklace.” Born in 1976 in Benja-Gomba, Ronald Mayinja has produced numerous hit songs throughout his career.

Necklace, in particular, has remained one of the favourites among fans, especially those in love. At a press conference for his upcoming concert Old is Gold Mayinja at 49, the singer disclosed that the inspiration for the song came from his girlfriend Julie.

Julie, who attended boarding school while Mayinja was in day school, sparked his fears of losing her to someone else. He penned down “Necklace” as a request for her to entrust her necklace to him to cherish in her absence.

However, after receiving advice from Mariam Ndagire, Mayinja decided to make the song more relatable by expanding its meaning beyond his personal experience.

He hence created a song that resonated with anyone who has ever been in a long-distance relationship or felt the ache of missing someone they love.

He crafted lyrics that painted a vivid picture of two souls yearning for each other’s presence, using the metaphor of a necklace to symbolize the connection they shared.

Over the years, “Necklace” has remained a timeless classic in Ugandan music. Its universal theme and emotional resonance have allowed it to transcend time and continue to touch the hearts of listeners, regardless of age or background.

Mayinja’s decision to expand the song’s scope and make it relatable to a wider audience proved to be a stroke of genius, cementing his status as a celebrated veteran musician in Uganda.

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MTN Uganda| CEO’s congratulatory article for UCC@25

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MTN Uganda congratulates UCC on its silver jubilee.

Sylvia Mulinge, CEO of MTN Uganda spoke to our journalist about the significance of the Uganda Communications Commission’s 25-year celebrations. UCC regulates the communications sector, which includes telecommunications, broadcasting, radio communication, postal communications, data communication and infrastructure.

Below are excerpts of the conversation;

Q: What message would you like to convey to George William Nyombi Thembo on his appointment as the Executive Director of the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and to UCC as they celebrate 25 years?

A: We extend our heartfelt congratulations to George William Nyombi Thembo and the entire team at the Uganda Communications Commission on their 25th anniversary. Their dedication and leadership have played a pivotal role in shaping Uganda’s telecommunications landscape and driving digital transformation. We look forward to continued collaboration with the UCC in advancing our shared goals of connectivity, innovation, and economic empowerment for all Ugandans. Cheers to 25 years of excellence, and here’s to many more years of success ahead!

Q. Let’s delve into some of the milestones achieved in partnership with the UCC. Firstly, could you elaborate on MTN Uganda’s support for UCC’s projects such as the Uganda Film Awards?

A: Thank you. Indeed, our partnership with the UCC has been instrumental in driving initiatives like the Uganda Film Awards. At MTN Uganda, we believe in the power of youth and creativity in propelling Uganda’s development forward. Supporting platforms like the Uganda Film Awards not only celebrates local talent but also empowers the youth to showcase their creativity on a global stage.

Q: That’s commendable. Another area where MTN Uganda has made significant contributions is the Uganda Communications Universal Service and Access Fund (UCUSAF). Could you shed some light on MTN’s involvement with UCUSAF and its impact?

A: MTN Uganda has always been committed to bridging the digital divide and ensuring that all Ugandans have access to essential communication services, because we believe everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. Since its inception Our contribution of UGX 36 billion alone to the Uganda Communication Universal Service and Access Fund in 2023 underscores this commitment. This investment has facilitated the expansion of communication infrastructure to underserved communities, ultimately enhancing connectivity and socio-economic development across the country.

Q: Let’s shift gears now to the groundbreaking announcement of MTN Uganda being granted 5G spectrum license by the UCC. What does this milestone mean for MTN Uganda and the country’s digital landscape?

A: Receiving the first 5G spectrum license from the UCC is a testament to our shared vision of driving economic growth and empowerment in the digital era. Embracing 5G technology opens up a world of possibilities for Uganda, from attracting more investments to fostering innovation and positioning the country as a digital hub in the region. We are excited about the prospects that 5G promises and remain committed to leveraging this technology to transform lives and businesses across Uganda. It’s these collaborations that inspire our brand’s clarion call that together, we are unstoppable in the pursuit of common aspirations to progress our communities.

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