UGOLF signs contract to manage Kigali Golf Resorts and Villas, says Director General

UGOLF has signed the management contract for its first golf course in Africa, in Kigali, Rwanda. The Kigali Golf Resorts and Villas, still under construction, will open in early May 2021.

Kigali Golf Resort and Villas is located in the heart of the Rwandan capital, in a quality natural environment, on 65 hectares.

Previously composed of 9 holes played mainly by local golfers, its course has been extended to 18 holes and completely redesigned by Gary Player Design.

The French company Grégori International, in charge of the works, began construction in August 2019.

TOP AFRICA NEWS has exclusively learnt that in addition to golf, the Kigali Golf Resort and Villas will offer many activities: tennis, squash, health club, boutique, seminar spaces, as well as a restaurant serving original local cuisine.

As soon as the golf course opens, the UGOLF Academy will offer its flagship product for beginners, the Swing 4U, at an attractive price allowing new clientele to be introduced to become future subscribers of Kigali Golf Resort and Villas. The Golf School will aim to introduce golf to all children and to develop young champions.


Faithful to its eco-sustainable commitments, UGOLF is fully in line with the country’s approach to managing the course that respects the environment: a policy of “fair watering”, particularly in the dry season, and mechanical operations on the greens for minimum use of chemical inputs.


Thanks to a strategic geographical location, high-level infrastructure and recognized economic dynamism, Kigali is the second most attractive city in Africa for international meetings and events.

 To develop international golf attendance, the Kigali Golf Resort and Villas, a project supported by the Rwanda Ultimate Golf Club, will maintain close collaboration with the Rwanda Development Board in association with all the country’s tourism development stakeholders.

Finally, around golf, a network of business and golf enthusiasts, “the Kigali Golf 42.67 business”, will help anchor golf at the heart of the capital’s economic dynamic.

Pierre-André UHLEN, Managing Director of UGOLF, declares: “We are very proud to have crossed European borders with the signing of Kigali Golf Resorts & Villas. This is great proof of the strength of UGOLF, which is continuing its internationalization to achieve our goal of entering the World Top 10 golf operators by 2024 “.

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Erik Ekudden, Ericsson Group CTO and Head of Technology & Strategy explains How Digitalization with 5G enables further acceleration of climate action

By Erik Ekudden

Digital technology may be our most powerful, scalable tool to tackle climate change. With 2020 showing digitalization can be rapidly accelerated, the same will be true when it comes to CO2 reductions. 5G opens up these new opportunities – why not use it to reach our goals faster?

With a clear challenge in global energy consumption, effects of CO2 pollution, and inefficient use of resources we need to turn to those enabling technologies that can drive change fastest. To stabilize climate change, we need to hold Earth’s temperature at 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. This means we need to halve global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reach net zero before 2050.

Even with last year’s Covid-19 driven reductions in greenhouse gas emissions – the greatest since World War II – the world is still forecast to miss its annual target of reducing emissions.

The world requires larger, more positive transformational changes than a pandemic to address climate change and meet its targets. At the same time, as we progress into 2021 and 2030 edges closer, the need for fast, scalable change only grows.

Digitalization is an enabling technology representing a fast, scalable tool to help address climate change. Indeed, digital technology may be the most powerful, scalable tool the world has to tackle climate change. As an accelerator, it has the potential to reduce global emissions by up to 15 percent by 2030.

According to McKinsey, enterprise leaders have seen the Covid-19 crisis bring about some three to four years of digital change in the space of only a few months.  In some cases, the move to digital products and channels has been accelerated by a staggering seven years. Given the investments made and expectation that changes will be long-lasting, there exists for many sectors of society a corresponding opportunity to hasten the advance of digitalization and meet 2030 CO2 milestones sooner. This hastening would be welcomed given the scale of the challenge at hand and consequences of climate change.

5G’s unique transformative capabilities

On the frontline of digitalization lies 5G, itself an exponential technology, a platform enabling technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and Extended Reality (XR). Through these technologies, enterprises can build all-manner of known and future unknown, disruptive uses.

The uses, applicable across various sectors, can drive down costs, energy usage, emissions, waste and mitigate climate change. Perhaps the most obvious use during Covid-19 has been video conferencing and telemedicine in employment and health sectors, which negated travel.

The Exponential Roadmap, revised in January 2020 prior to Covid-19’s onset, shows from now until 2030, sector by sector, the solutions to be taken to help the sectors halve their greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The Roadmap, of which Ericsson is the leading business sector partner, is consistent with the Paris Agreement’s goal to keep global average temperature “well below 2°C” and aiming for 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Across sectors, including those highlighted below which might be ripe for acceleration, the Exponential Roadmap puts forward concrete solutions to meet 2030 targets. Technology lies at the heart of many of the solutions. Their deployment, however, requires policies, finance and leadership to see them realized at sufficient speed and scale.

If we establish 5G infrastructure faster, we can help halve emissions across sectors. 5G is an innovation platform which can support a myriad of uses that can help tackle climate change.

Exponential Roadmap: Solutions to cut greenhouse gas emissions in industry, buildings, transport and energy

The solutions are not hypothetical, they just need to be scaled up. Looking at energy, when it comes to enabling the transition to renewable sources, investment in the smart grids of tomorrow is necessary. ICT and connectivity can enable better performance and protect power grids, including the possibility of remote control and automation in the event of power failure. This is key in enabling the transition to renewable energy, and where the UN estimates that up to 85 percent of electricity must be renewable by 2050.

Taking steps in energy will impact the emissions of other sectors too, where the Exponential Roadmap finds around a third of industry emissions relates to energy supply, rising to two thirds in buildings, for example.

Under transport it is reasonable to assume that the solution ‘remote working and meetings’ will hit its estimated target well before 2030, given the rampant uptake of teleconferencing this past year. Ericsson’s trial last year of 5G driverless vehicles and 5G uses at the Port of Livorno, are also instructive.

In industry, is it not possible to act faster and bring forward increases in production efficiency and circularity? We know digital technologies will be an essential driver of decarbonization and cost savings in material, energy, process and logistical efficiency.

In buildings, such as Ericsson’s Smart 5G Factory launched last year, we see uses such as energy monitoring and management shave 5 percent off the energy bill, whilst environmental monitoring can lead to a 5 percent reduction in waste. All told the factory is 24 percent more energy efficient than baseline. Is it then possible to speed up the transition to sustainable buildings, both residential, non-residential and construction? Can we hit the sector’s reductions before 2030?

Collective major leaps

I believe the potential is there to meet 2030 milestones sooner. It would require a major, collective leap led from industries and investors, but strongly supported from society at large, where governments, academia and others pull together.

From an industry perspective, telecommunications companies need to lead by action. For Ericsson, this means supporting the Paris Agreement, the Science Based Target Initiative, driving changes through our supply chain. It also means, as a lead partner of the Exponential Roadmap, working towards the ambition of halving our emissions before 2030, aiming at net zero before 2050. In addition, it means showing the art of what’s possible, through research, proofs of concept and working case studies, such as the Port of Livorno, Smart 5G Factory and many other projects. More than anything, our main contribution is taking forward networks that society can utilize to help tackle climate change. The networks themselves are designed with energy efficiency in mind. If 5G were deployed the same way as previous generations to meeting growing traffic demands, energy consumptions of mobile networks would increase dramatically. This is why we break the rising energy curve of the networks through, for example, energy-saving software and placing equipment with precision.

For society to take a great leap, however, requires more than a willing industry and exponential technologies like 5G. It requires other leadership – not least governmental – as well as policies and incentives to deliver digitalization now, paving the way for the necessary reductions well before 2030.

Governmental leaps

A critical ingredient to deploying the 5G network is an investment friendly environment. In concrete terms, this means governments removing barriers to 5G deployment such as fast-tracking permits, lowering site costs and setting fees that cover only administrative costs. It also means freeing up or finding sites for equipment, which is an issue across the Americas and Europe.

In addition to deployment, it means releasing 5G spectrum quickly, with supply maximized and assigned in a manner that incentives wide and rapid deployment. In Europe, for example, only 25.5 percent of 5G spectrum has been released to member states. The slow release is, in large part, due to a near-sighted focus on gathering industry fees and taxations, rather than harnessing the overwhelming long-term benefits – financial, societal, environmental – of releasing spectrum sooner and getting enterprises up and running on 5G quicker. Since 2000, European operators have spent EUR160bn on spectrum fees which could have covered the EUR155bn investment shortfall the European Commission calculates is needed to meet its 2025 connectivity targets.

There are best practices to learn from. Austria, for example, in their recent multi-band spectrum auction, used additional coverage obligation discounts to drive down costs. Total proceeds were 20 percent lower than the expected minimum, representing a trade-off value of EUR500m. Critically however, 1,700 undeserved communities will now get 5G. The auction was designed to secure coverage, not only for a high percentage of the population but also highways, roads and railway routes.

The positive environmental impacts in those communities and along transport and infrastructure routes will be felt for years to come. This shows that the much-needed green transition can be accelerated by governments if an investment friendly climate for digital infrastructure is provided.

The learnings from 2020 tell us that digitalization, underpinned by mobile network services and cloud technologies, can be accelerated by years. Across many sectors of society, the same will be true when it comes to CO2 reductions. 5G opens up these new opportunities – why not use it to reach our goals faster? I challenge governments and our sector to join me in this critical ambition.

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French Company “Groupe Duval” sets to construct an Environmental Friendly Commercial building Near Kigali Convention Centre

On Tuesday, the Office of the Rwandan President announced that President Kagame had received the CEO of Group Duval, Eric Duval, and his team, to discuss the projects the company plans to launch in Rwanda soon.

Groupe Duval is a French-based company, founded in 1996 by Eric Duval but managed by Pauline Duval. It has more than 4,000 employees and over the past 25 years, it has raised more than $ 700 million from construction investment.

In Rwanda its activities will be managed by a company called Duval Great Lakes Ltd headed by Vicky Murabukirwa.

Groupe Duval has invested in construction projects, hospitality, food processing and more.

Among the projects Duval Great Lakes Ltd plans for Rwanda include one of the most unique to construct a commercial building in Kimihurura next to the Kigali Convention Center, TOP Africa news has learnt from IGIHE.COM.

The modern commercial building will be constructed in a way that is environmentally friendly. It will also include the French Hotel Company, Odalys City Business Apart Hotel.

Named “INZOVU”, the building will feature a variety of business activities, games, entertainment, restaurants and more.

It is also expected to be a bridge to increase the number of tourists visiting Rwanda.

This year is expected to be the start of the project, where construction work will be fast-tracked.

The company is also set to take over the management of the new Golf Course through UGolf Great Lakes Ltd, a subsidiary of UGolf which is currently controlled by Groupe Duval.

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Ericsson President and CEO Börje Ekholm outlines COVID 19 consequences on our online lives, and why we cannot go back to pre-pandemic habits

Through Covid-19, connectivity has become an even bigger part of critical infrastructure, helping people in an unprecedented way to work, study and socialize online. Looking forward, governments need to do more to harness the potential of 5G if we’re both to emerge stronger from the pandemic and tackle greater challenges such as climate change.

These are two of my takeaways from the World Economic Forum’s three-part 5G Outlook Series, the final installment of which was recently published and to which Ericsson, as part of a multi-stakeholder working group, contributed.

Shifting behaviors

A year on from its onset, many of the global behavioral changes stemming from Covid-19 are clear, not least the move from offline to online domains. Last year, we could see that consumers’ use of fixed broadband increased by an average of two and half hours per day, and on mobile by one hour.

In its first 5G Outlook Series report, the World Economic Forum (WEF) highlighted several activities behind that increased usage: in healthcare, a 490 percent increase in telemedicine urgent care visits; in socialization a 75 percent increase in online gaming; and in retail, online transactions were up 74 percent globally. In the world of work, Ericsson’s Mobility Report showed 60 percent of white-collar workers increased their usage of video calls.

Networks passed the stress test

Despite the sudden and unprecedented changes in traffic patterns and demand, the networks performed well with operators generally providing enough network performance. This strong performance was reflected in users’ perceptions, with 83 percent claiming ICT helped them a lot, in one way or another, to cope with lockdown.

My first key takeaway from the WEF reports is that through Covid-19, connectivity became an even bigger part of critical infrastructure, helping people in an unprecedented way to work, study and socialize online. Without the investments made in 4G and 5G, telemedicine, video calls, gaming – none of these uses could have been delivered to the extent seen through the pandemic.

No going back to the pre-pandemic status quo

With vaccines rolling out and an end to the pandemic in sight, there is a risk that society will seek to return to pre-pandemic routines and habits. It is obvious the world cannot move forward by returning to a pre-pandemic status quo.

If we are to emerge strongly from Covid-19 and tackle greater challenges, such as climate change, then not only do we need to continue the digital evolution, but we need to accelerate it with 5G at the forefront.

5G at the forefront of digital evolution

With attributes such as high speed and low latency, and as an enabler of other technologies such as the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence, 5G is designed to be a platform upon which enterprises can take forward efficient, low-cost, low emission uses.

This can be seen in factory settings, for example, where 5G uses gather in the form of automated heating, ventilation, air conditioning, light control and building management. Many of these 5G uses, the economic and environmental benefits derived from them, are explored in Ericsson’s 5G Smart Factory.

In a similar vein within agriculture, WEF highlights, there are several 5G use cases whereby the use of sensors and other connected devices allow farmers to produce more output whilst consuming fewer scarce natural resources, such as water.

One such example offered is Agroscope, a center for agricultural research in Switzerland. The center has deployed real-time sensors that measure soil moisture, crop growth, weather data and animal movements. These sensors have allowed farmers to decrease the amount of nitrogen fertilizer use by roughly 10 percent, without any corresponding loss in crop yield.

Broadband and 5G, as the European Commission makes clear, lay the foundation for the green and digital transformation of the economy, regardless of whether we talk about transport and energy, healthcare and education, or manufacturing and agriculture.

Switzerland in focus

Staying with Switzerland, few countries have been as quick to see the potential in 5G and commit. In 2019, Swisscom switched on the first European commercial 5G network, and today 90 percent of the population is covered by 5G.

Now they will see benefits in economic competitiveness with enterprises gaining first-mover advantages in educational attainment with online learning strengthened through VR, and they will see benefits environmentally through reduced emissions.

5G is scalable, and if other countries were to use Switzerland as a template, the global benefits would be enormous.

World in focus

Looking at a global scale, environmentally, digital technology can accelerate the reduction of global emissions by up to 15 percent by 2030, while being responsible for only 1.4 percent of global emissions.

Whilst economically, ‘industry analysts have suggested 5G will add USD3.8 trillion of gross output by 2035, supporting 22.8 million new jobs’.

With rewards, however, come risks. One such risk is the threat of exacerbated inequality, through varied adoption of digital technology. For example, by the end of 2026, Ericsson forecasts 3.5 billion 5G subscriptions globally. In North America, 80 percent of its subscriptions are expected to be 5G, whilst in sub-Saharan Africa the forecast is only 5 percent.

Given that, by 2030, we forecast that two-thirds of the world’s workforces will depend on 5G connectivity, it is critical that we work towards closing the digital skills divide and promote an agenda which ensures digital inclusion, a point echoed in the report series.

Governments as 5G catalysts

Governments have a long way to go in helping rollout 5G, if we want to use it to emerge strongly from Covid-19, harness its economic and environmental opportunities, whilst mitigating inequality. This is my second key takeaway from the 5G Outlook Series and I would echo WEF ‘s conclusion from their final report: ‘where governments can work with the communications industry to defray network roll-out costs, nations are more likely to see widespread 5G benefits across the economy sooner. Democratizing 5G in this manner is a significant way of avoiding a 5G-driven digital divide.’

More concretely, instead of focusing on capturing limited spectrum fees and dragging out rollouts, governments need to see themselves as investment catalysts. They need to focus on the bigger economic and environmental benefits which come from spectrum being released quickly, supply maximized and getting enterprises up and running on 5G.

The spectrum, which is the system that carries data from user equipment to cellular base stations to the data’s endpoint, also needs to be assigned in a manner that incentivizes wide and rapid deployment to ensure equitable access. Furthermore, barriers such as permitting delays, sighting rules, harmonizing radio frequency exposure values need to go. Doing this will help accelerate the uptake of 5G.

In conclusion, Covid-19 demonstrated the enormous value of our digital infrastructure. If society is to emerge stronger from the pandemic and tackle greater challenges, then governments need to act more as catalysts and unleash the potential of 5G.

Ericsson is a strategic partner to the World Economic Forum and contributor to its 5G Accelerator Program which aims to build better connected, more resilient societies to respond to and recover from Covid-19. Their report series, 5G Outlook, which is part of the Program, can be accessed here.

This blog post originally appeared on WEF Agenda.


Rwanda says ready to triple its international trade in 10 years as AfCFTA Starts

Minister of Trade and Industry of Rwanda Ms. Soraya Hakuziyaremye

By Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU

Minister of Trade and Industry of Rwanda Ms. Soraya Hakuziyaremye has said Rwanda is ready to export goods to the wider African market adding that no one should worry that some of the countries with the largest economies on the continent will give less value to the market.

Minister Hakuziyaremye made the remarks while answering questions from reporters at the AfCFTA Start of Trading Virtual Launch event which was organised by the Rwanda’s Ministry of Trade on Friday, 15th January 2021.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a free trade area founded in 2018, with trade commencing as of 1 January 2021.

 It was created by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 African Union nations

Minister Hakuziyaremye said Rwanda is ready to compete on this market

Rwanda’s economic policy is open to foreign trade which accounts for 51.5% of the GDP (World Bank, 2018). … In 2018, merchandise imports from Rwanda reached USD 2.58 billion, while exports amounted to USD 1.1 billion. The country exported services worth USD 798 million and imported USD 931 million (WTO, 2018).

Regarding the exemption of taxes on traders who will be importing goods, Hakuziyaremye explained that “80% of the goods made in Africa will be the first to be exempted from taxes.”

“In our country, it is a process that will take 10 years to get rid of 10% of the tax to 0% of the tax,” she said.

She added that in Rwanda, agriculture, agribusiness and clothing products are some of the commodities that the country is ready to take to the market.

She encouraged ordinary people as well as the Private Sector to take part in taking the benefits from this big market.

“We, as Rwandans, find that in the next 10 years, we will have tripled our trade with foreign countries,” she said.

She reassured those concerned about major economies such as South Africa and Nigeria that they would belittle the market saying that there should be no worries because in general all countries are willing to join this market.

“It’s not an easy journey because even during the negotiations there have been shown that there is a lot to be done to set up this trade area “She explains

“but again, these great economies have their own business needs in this market,” Minister Hakuziyaremye added.

Regarding the free movement of people, Minister Hakuziyaremye said that this would also be facilitated as people would be able to trade and travel more easily under the AfCFTA agreement.

The fact that Rwanda has entered the wider market, it means that joining the market is not meant for Government as an institution rather a trade member with the people who might start thinking broadly, especially those who do business even at the local level.

Victor Nkindi, one of the Rwandans who have gained experience in International business through Hooza Media Company, says that this is a time for Rwandans to think broadly.

“Now, boarders are opening to allow more shipment at lower cost” He said.

“By start with regional integration, Tanzania, DRC or Kenya are great countries to start business with” Mr. Victor Nkindi commented

“Let us be bold and look after opportunities the continent is offering” He advised.

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The Future Of Jobs And Education

Bernard Marr,  ContributorEnterprise Tech

The world of work has been changing for some time, with an end to the idea of jobs for life and the onset of the gig economy. But just as in every other field where digital transformation is ongoing, the events of 2020 have accelerated the pace of this change dramatically.

The International Labor Organization has estimated that almost 300 million jobs are at risk due to the coronavirus pandemic. Of those that are lost, almost 40% will not come back. According to research by the University of Chicago, they will be replaced by automation to get work done more safely and efficiently. Particularly at risk are so-called “frontline” jobs – customer service, cashiers, retail assistant, and public transport being just a few examples. But no occupation or profession is entirely future proof. Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), even tasks previously reserved for highly trained doctors and lawyers – diagnosing illness from medical images, or reviewing legal case history, for example – can now be carried out by machines.

At the same time, the World Economic Forum, in its 2020 Future of Jobs report, finds that 94% of companies in the UK will accelerate the digitization of their operations as a result of the pandemic, and 91% are saying they will provide more flexibility around home or remote working.

If you’re in education or training now, this creates a dilemma. Forget the old-fashioned concept of a “job for life,” which we all know is dead – but will the skills you’re learning now even still be relevant by the time you graduate?

One thing that’s sure is that we’re moving into an era where education is life-long. With today’s speed of change, there are fewer and fewer careers where you can expect the knowledge you pick up in school or university to see you through to retirement.All of this has created a perfect environment for online learning to boom. Rather than moving to a new city and dedicating several years to studying for a degree, it’s becoming increasingly common to simply log in from home and fit education around existing work and family responsibilities.

This fits with the vision of Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of online learning platform Coursera. Coursera was launched in 2012 by a group of Stanford professors interested in using the internet to widen access to world-class educational content. Today, 76 million learners have taken 4,500 different courses from 150 universities, and the company is at the forefront of the wave of transformation spreading through education.

 “The point I focus on,” he told me during our recent conversation, “is that the people who have the jobs that are going to be automated do not currently have the skills to get the new jobs that are going to be created.”

Without intervention, this could lead to an “everyone loses” scenario, where high levels of unemployment coincide with large numbers of vacancies going unfilled because businesses can’t find people with the necessary skills.

The answer here is a rethink of education from the ground up, Maggioncalda says, and it’s an opinion that is widely shared. Another WEF statistic tells us 66% of employers say they are accelerating programs for upskilling employees to work with new technology and data.

Models of education will change, too, as the needs of industry change. Coursera is preparing for this by creating new classes of qualification such as its Entry-Level Professional Certificates. Often provided directly by big employers, including Google and Facebook, these impart a grounding in the fundamentals needed to take on an entry-level position in a technical career, with the expectation that the student would go on to continue their education to degree level while working, through online courses, or accelerated on-campus semesters.

“The future of education is going to be much more flexible, modular, and online. Because people will not quit their job to go back to campus for two or three years to get a degree, they can’t afford to be out of the workplace that long and move their families. There’s going to be much more flexible, bite-sized modular certificate programs that add up to degrees, and it’s something people will experience over the course of their working careers,” says Maggioncalda.

All of this ties nicely with the growing requirements that industry has for workers that are able to continuously reskill and upskill to keep pace with technological change. It could lead to an end of the traditional model where our status as students expires as we pass into adulthood and employment.

Rather than simply graduating and waving goodbye to their colleges as they throw their mortarboards skywards, students could end up with life-long relationships with their preferred providers of education, paying a subscription to remain enrolled and able to continue their learning indefinitely.

“Because why wouldn’t the university want to be your lifelong learning partner?” Maggioncalda says.

“As the world changes, you have a community that you’re familiar with, and you can continue to go back and learn – and your degree is kind of never really done – you’re getting micro-credentials and rounding out your portfolio. This creates a great opportunity for higher education.”

Personally, I feel that this all points to an exciting future where barriers to education are broken down, and people are no longer blocked from studying by the fact they also need to hold down a job, or simply because they can’t afford to move away to start a university course.

With remote working increasingly common, factors such as where we happen to grow up, or where we want to settle and raise families, will no longer limit our aspirations for careers and education. This could lead to a “democratization of education,” with lower costs to the learner as employers willingly pick up the tab for those who show they can continually improve their skillsets.

As the world changes, education changes too. Austere school rooms and ivory-tower academia are relics of the last century. While formal qualifications and degrees aren’t likely to vanish any time soon, the way they are delivered in ten years’ time is likely to be vastly different than today, and ideas such as modular, lifelong learning, and entry-level certificates are a good indication of the direction things are heading.

You can watch my conversation with Jeff Maggioncalda in full, where among other topics, we also cover the impact of Covid-19 on building corporate cultures and the implications of the increasingly globalized, remote workforce.

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Ooredoo Group and Ericsson sign five-year strategic 5G agreement

  • The strategic five-year agreement will enhance the digital experience for people, enterprises and industries across Ooredoo’s operating companies in 10 countries
  • The deal includes Ericsson Radio System, Ericsson Cloud Core, Cloud Infrastructure, Ericsson Cloud Communication, and Ericsson microwave solutions
  • Ericsson 5G products and solutions to help Ooredoo launch new functionalities with faster time-to-market

Ooredoo Group and Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) have signed a global frame agreement for the supply of 5G radio, core and transport products and solutions, as well as related implementation and integration services. The agreement covers all 10 of the Group’s operating companies in Qatar, Indonesia, Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Palestine, Tunisia, Myanmar and Maldives.

The agreement covers Ericsson Radio System, including MINI-LINK 6000 products that are capable of 10Gbps, Ericsson Cloud CoreCloud Infrastructure and Ericsson Cloud Communication solutions. This will enable end-to-end 5G support to digitally transform and modernize Ooredoo’s existing mobile networks across its operating companies. These solutions will also significantly shorten time-to-market for new services and improve Ooredoo’s network performance to meet the growing expectations of consumers and enterprises.

Ericsson Radio System is already deployed and live in several of Ooredoo’s operating companies. In Ooredoo Qatar’s network, Ericsson Radio System, using the 4G/5G Ericsson Spectrum Sharing solution, has facilitated fast nationwide 5G coverage. Furthermore, in preparation of Ooredoo Qatar’s network to host multiple global sporting events, Ericsson is deploying its latest 5G midband Massive MIMO radios to create a unique digital experience for millions of sports fans in stadiums, at home, or on-the-go.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulla Al Thani, Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer, Ooredoo Group, says: “The agreement represents another step in the longstanding and successful partnership between Ericsson and Ooredoo, which enables our company to continue network expansion, enhancement and digital transformation. Ericsson is bringing state-of-the-art global technologies to the countries we operate in, which enables us to provide the latest digital solutions for communities to enjoy the best of the internet, including connecting the most remote areas, supporting startups digitally and providing immersive experiences for sports fans at upcoming mega-sporting events.”

With a turnkey responsibility, Ericsson will deliver a comprehensive portfolio of telecom services. Under the agreement, Ericsson will provide hardware and software expansions of the core network, radio network and transmission network, as well as enhanced mobile multimedia functionality for new service offerings.

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks, Ericsson, says: “5G as a platform for innovation will speed up Ooredoo’s journey towards digital transformation. It will fuel new use cases that cater to evolving consumer and enterprise demands. It is with great pride that we strengthen our collaboration as we continue supporting Ooredoo’s ambition of delivering high-performing networks and superior user experience.”

Ericsson’s expertise in network design, deployment and integration and software upgrades will support Ooredoo’s transition to advanced multimedia services. Under the agreement, Ericsson will also provide support and maintenance services.

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What can we expect from the use of 5G networks? Jacques Kabandana, Ericsson Rwanda Country Manager responds

As time goes on, we continue to feel a change in the use of the Internet where the world in general is eyeing the use of 5G Internet which is expected to change a lot in human life.

TOP AFRICA NEWS interviewed Jacques Kabandana, CEO of Ericsson Rwanda, explaining some of what we would expect as a result of the 5G network.  

We have been hearing about 5G usage around the world for some time now, but in Rwanda we are not hearing about 5G usage. Is 5G already used in Rwanda? Can you explain to us about 5G usage in the context of Rwanda and Africa as well?

We believe that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is the catalyst for digital transformation, with mobile networks being the crucial ingredient in increasing Africa’s economic competitiveness in the global arena.

Digital transformation is taking place in almost every industry, disrupting and creating new business models. 5G is an enabler of this transformation. As highlighted in the November 2020 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, distinct volumes of 5G subscriptions are expected from 2022, reaching 5 percent in 2026.

While there are parts of the continent on the cusp of 5G rollout, there remains other parts where 3G and 4G are still in infancy. The development of LTE and 5G digital infrastructure is an integral part of Africa’s growing economy and has proved to be an essential driver of an inclusive information society that integrates digitization in all critical aspects of life, such as education, transport, health, energy and even homeland security.

In Africa, we have already implemented an expanded platform to deliver more efficient network performance and improved network capabilities. This is enabling service providers to capture opportunities from digitization of industries and from emerging use cases while addressing the explosive traffic growth expected in 5G evolution.

  1. We are talking about 5G but there are also those who say that 4G has not helped them properly so it is possible that even 5G may not get customers due to the fact that even 4G has disappointed them. What do you say about that?

As digital infrastructure and transaction become increasingly impactful to the development of the African societies and economies, affordable broadband access will need to be extended to over a billion individuals to bridge the “digital divide” and enable them to reap the benefits of the digital economy.

Mobile broadband subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are predicted to increase according to Ericsson Mobility Report, reaching 76 percent of mobile subscriptions. Driving factors behind the growth of mobile broadband subscriptions include a young, growing population with increasing digital skills and more affordable smartphones.

Mobile broadband connectivity not only offers great potential to transform cities and industries, but it enables connectivity as a basic human right; fostering inclusion and making a positive, sustainable economic impact.

  1. A recent report by Ericsson shows that the number of Mobile data consumers will increase significantly. What opportunities do we have based on the increase in the number of Mobile phone users?

The November 2020 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report reveals that mobile data traffic in Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to grow by almost 6.5 times the current figures, with total traffic increasing from 0.87EB per month in 2020 to 5.6EB by 2026. Meanwhile, average traffic per smartphone is expected to reach 8.9GB over the forecast period.

As the demand for capacity and coverage of cellular networks continues to grow, service providers must invest in their networks to meet evolving consumer requirements. With our commitment to innovation and long history of engaging in Africa’s telecom industry, we at Ericsson are driven to deliver the next-generation technology solutions to Africa. These can enable sweeping changes to industrial production, allow seamless access to societal services and provide people with ways of living harmoniously with their environment.

  1. What do you think is the best way for a person to benefit from a 5G network?

Africa’s Digital agenda is a base for economic opportunities across all industry sectors, with the continent’s young population driving enormous opportunities in this digital era. Service providers in Africa are seizing the opportunity to evolve their role in the value chain and build powerful technological capabilities that can dramatically accelerate the digital transformation of companies across industries and geographies.

With networks of the future, the complexity of operating networks will go far beyond what any human can manage. To leverage the full benefits, investing in additional technologies such as cloud native, orchestration and automation is now business critical. 

Farmers across the continent are realizing how important digital technology, robotics, image recognition, sensors, precision farming, big data and analytics are to ensuring the future profitability of their industry, addressing sustainability issues, and improving resilience in the face of climate change.

Introduction of AI cognitive algorithms will enable networks to perceive current conditions – making it easier to plan, decide and act on those conditions to achieve better outcomes. Using our 4G and 5G technology with low latency alongside with the AI and Automation, we can enable farmers to use drones and self-guided tractors powered by GPS navigation systems to monitor crops.

Robotics can also be utilized various agriculture applications – helping to improve the food production lifecycle, boost efficiency and minimize waste.

  1. What is the role of Ericsson in Rwanda in helping the public to enjoy the benefits of using the Internet?

 Ericsson is well established in East Africa with offices in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. We operate in the Information and Communication System (ICT) sector together with our partners being the services providers such as MTN and Airtel. Our comprehensive portfolio ranges across Networks, Digital Services, Managed Services and Emerging Business.

In addition, Ericsson is committed to developing STEM leaders through digital transformation initiatives and events. We are fully aware of the challenges in Rwanda when it comes to capacity building in various sectors including STEM which is one of the objectives of the Rwanda National Employment Program (NEP) and we are working on addressing its key objectives. Since its establishment in 2009, Ericsson Rwanda has focused on recruiting and empowering local talents, we are proud to have more local than foreign resources in our workforce.

Developing strong local competence is a key pillar of the Ericsson strategy to realize industry 4.0. within an African context through Digital Transformation as we believe transformation is both driven by talent and technology.  Africa’s digital agenda is best built by African talent as they leverage automation to build smarter networks, addressing head-on the complexity to expand digital inclusivity.

  1. What advice would you give to today’s youth based on experience in the use of modern communication, especially the Internet?

Connectivity is a critical enabler of social and economic change. Its dynamism constantly offers us new ways to overcome both global and regional development challenges. If leveraged for good, the introduction of 5G and expansion of LTE networks across Africa can accelerate this process exponentially.

While there are parts of the continent trialing 5G services, majority of countries remain focusing on 3G and 4G as smartphone affordability improves year on year. The development of advanced wireless digital infrastructure is an integral part of Africa’s growing economy. Mobile broadband access has proved to be an essential driver of an inclusive information society that integrates digitization in all critical aspects of life, such as education, transport, health, energy and even homeland security. Never has this been more evident than during the current COVID 19 pandemic.

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2G, 3G, 4G Networks continue to play an important role in the safety of Rwandans during COVID 19 pandemic Time

2G, 3G, 4G Networks continue to play an important role in the rise of Rwanda’s Economic growth while during the COVID 19 pandemic time, the use of above-mentioned networks has undoubtedly contributed to the reduction of the spread of the Coronavirus epidemic, TOP AFRICA NEWS reports

Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Monday, 21 December 2020 during a State of the Nation address announced that 4G Network has now reached 127 locations across the country.

With the modern 4G Network, it is considered to be a technology that signals a shift from voice- to the data-based transmission with high-speed in time for the onset of smartphone era and the next step forward in Rwanda.

In November 2019, Korea Telecom Rwanda Networks (KTRN) commenced the process of a network upgrade and optimization that included software and hardware upgrade along with coverage expansion in order to meet Quality of Service (QoS) demands from its customers and fill the coverage gaps experienced.

In a bid to deliver on its promise for a reliable and quality nationwide 4G network, KTRN invested more than USD 10 million in this network and system upgrade exercise and this has yielded instant good results in improving user experience on the 4G network.

“As a result of 4 G network and system upgrade, currently, KTRN possesses a more reliable network infrastructure that matches the rate of growth, meets 4G Internet demands, and increases performance to 4G full speed.” According to information retrieved from KTRN website.

With the recent upgrade and coverage expansion countrywide, KTRN is still the first telecom company in Rwanda to provide the largest network coverage with more than 98% of the population coverage.

KTRN’s wide population coverage offers a huge opportunity to private companies, public institutions, and NGOs to expand their reach in the entire country, on a reliable and fast network.

The upgrade coincided with the novel COVID-19 global epidemic that saw the world shut down, but as the world was shutting down, the internet became an even more necessary essential needed at home as work and schools relocated to homes.

However, Rwandans find that there are still a lot to be done to get connected to the fastest Internet Networks as the modern communications speed increases.

This is in addition to the high cost of Internet such as 4 G based on the capacity of those who want a fast-growing network among them are predominantly young people who are very fond of knowing what is happening around the world.

President Paul Kagame presented the State of the Nation on 21st December 2020

Although President Kagame did not comment much on the 4G Network during the State of the Nation address on Monday, 21 December 2020 in Kigali, he pointed out that telecommunications technology had supported Rwanda during the COVID 19 time and this is confirmed by the way he successfully conducted an interactive session with citizens in different rural and urban areas across the country.

President Kagame said “Due to the COVID-19 situation and the need to keep people safe, I was unfortunately unable to meet physically with many of you at the annual National Umushyikirano Council and the RPF Congress this year.”

However, President Kagame added “Thanks to technology, we were able to have a virtual interaction this afternoon with citizens across the country and the press. It was an opportunity to highlight important issues to thank all Rwandans for your dedication and resilience in tackling domestic and global challenges”

ICT experts believe that the development of Internet communications in Rwanda, despite the high cost for some, has made a significant contribution to the safety of the citizens during the pandemic time.

It is clear that if the deployment of Networks such as 4G is successfully and wisely used, much benefits are set to arise.

For instance, Jacques Kabandana, Country Manager at Ericsson Rwanda which is heavily involved in deploying other technologies such as 2G and 3G with its partners namely MTN Rwanda and Airtel Rwanda, finds that in this hardship times of Covid19 pandemic, it is imperative to make use of the technologies available in Rwanda whether it is 2G, 3G or 4G.

“By doing so, it will certainly help bridge the digital divide that we are all seeing. That would mean, more and more Rwandans will have access to Internet as a basic need but the latter are just infrastructure such as roads, electricity, etc…. I would call it the first step.” He explains

“The second step will now be to stem use cases that will actually make an impact to our lives. He we think about 4G use case in agriculture sector where the technology will help you determine the amount of water needed for farming, etc… in the health sector whereby you can do an e-consultation, etc…” Kabandana noted

“The use cases are even beyond our imagination.” He added.

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