5G Internet To Remain A Post Covid19 Decade-Long Dominant Driver- Ericsson Officials

A survey conducted by Ericsson has showed that 5G internet network will drive economic growth and human needs in the next decade but also generate $299billion in revenues in the ICT market players.

According to an Ericsson survey conducted in November 2020, the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region alone will be able to generate $32billion with 70% spending $22billion on digital services gaming (mobile games) and enhanced videos taking $2.8billion among the top areas.

According to Ammar Ammar, Head of Networks Campaigns, Ericsson Middle East and Africa (MEA) who unveiled Ericsson’s latest MEA-specific findings and predictions for this region, these projection have been largely driven by 5G internet demand and users willing to pay more.

To understand the future of 5G which was introduced in 2018, Ericsson-a global tech company behind the 5G internet drive conducted a survey on harnessing the 5G consumer potential dubbed “Ericsson Consumer and Market Insight Report” to look at responsive behavior of the internet users who are currently and largely still using the 4G internet (LTE).

In this survey, Ammar showed that some users are willing to pay more to get the 5G services but also the demand for new 5G internet driven services expected to be central in determining the post Covid-19 era.

“Today and tomorrow, mobile gaming is being evolved to really utilize the 5G capabilities. So with low latency and cloud processing enabled by 5G we see the game system being cloud gaming. So that is one of the key industries,” Ammar said during a webinar session on December 14, aimed at discussing the Latest Ericsson Mobility Report 2020.

Ammar noted that video content uptake is also evolving but stakeholders have to be more proactive than passive if they are to harness this consumer potential which will require extensive coverage build out, pricing innovation and developing an ecosystem between partners and developers.

This could be good news for 5G investments as the Ericsson survey also showed that though the Covid-19 Pandemic has impacted the 5G premium, 1 in 3 users are still willing to pay a 20 percent premium while 81% of consumers plan to spend on at least one digital service despite the pandemic and 63% of non 5G users feel new exclusive apps and services will convince them to take up 5G.

Among the areas (Established and New or emerging digital services) that will convince users to take up 5G, include Immersive education (44%), Video on demand (41%) Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) entertainment (25%), and Cloud Gaming (22%) among others.

For Jérémy Doutté, Vice President of Talabat UAE (a food delivery business), who is also former CEO of Jumia Nigeria and an expert in e-commerce said that consumer behaviors during the COVID19 pandemic and beyond have changed thus need for more innovation in e-commerce driven businesses.

Doutté said the first months of the Covid-19 lockdown globally and especially in the UAE almost caused the logistics based company that hires over 10.000 movers to nearly closing down but with internet connectivity as a drive for the human need for connections, the numbers of users surged as a result of persons using their internet enabled devices than before Covid19 lockdown.

“Once these consumer habits change it is hard to change them again…today we have a lot of diversity as consumer behavior keeps changing for instance they are ordering more healthy food,” Doutté said adding that it is up to e-commerce companies to tap into these changes in order to read the post Covid market.

According to the Ericsson Mobility Report 2020, the post Covid-19 markets will be majorly determined by the use of internet especially 5G, as the report shows that more than 1 billion people, or 15% of the world population, will have access to 5G coverage by the end of 2020, and Mobile data traffic in Sub-Saharan Africa to grow by 6.5 times by 2026.

The report also shows that so far more than 100 service providers around the world have launched 5G, while by 2026 mobile broadband subscriptions will hit 8billion users globally of which 5G alone will account for 3.5 billion subscriptions.

Todd Ashton VP at Ericsson Middle East and Africa said that the success of 5G will build on the legacy 4G (LTE) which is still predominately preferable however the speed of its successor (5G) will surpass any other network.

Ashton said that with 1.7 million first-responders and 14000 agencies providing mission-critical capabilities on 4G, the upgrade to 5G technologies will provide a range of network improvements, including low latency and capacity enhancements- especially in three areas- Policing through drones dispatch, real- time connection to traffic information for medical ambulance services; and firefighter enabled response using 3D internet enabled images broadcast directly between scenes and command posts.

Ericsson enables communications service providers to capture the full value of connectivity. The company’s portfolio spans Networks, Digital Services, Managed Services, and Emerging Business and is designed to help our customers go digital, increase efficiency and find new revenue streams.

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Ericsson Mobility Report: Mobile Data Traffic In Sub-Saharan Africa To Grow By 6.5 Times By 2026

  • Average traffic per smartphone in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to reach 8.9GB 
  • Sub-Saharan Africa’s mobile broadband subscriptions are set to account for 76% of all mobile subscriptions by 2025
  • Distinct volumes of 5G subscriptions are expected from 2022 in Sub-Saharan Africa

The November 2020 edition of the Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) 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 are expected to continue investing in their networks to cater for this uptake and meet evolving consumer requirements. In Sub-Saharan Africa, mobile subscriptions will continue to grow over the forecast period as mobile penetration today, at 84 percent, is less than the global average. LTE is estimated to account for around 15 percent of subscriptions by the end of 2020.

The Mobility Report reiterates the importance of releasing more spectrum in Africa to expand coverage, improve network quality and encourage mobile adoption.

Fadi Pharaon, President of Ericsson Middle East and Africa says: “This latest edition of our Mobility Report highlights the fundamental need for good connectivity as a cornerstone to cater for this uptake as the demand for capacity and coverage of cellular networks continues to grow across Africa. Investing in network infrastructure and optimizing spectrum assignments to deliver expansive 4G connectivity, paving the way for 5G, are critical requirements to consider in this journey and to accelerate digital transformation across the continent.  We will continue to invest in our technology leadership and offer our state-of-the art infrastructure solutions to help our customers seize the opportunities that connectivity will bring to Africa.” 

Over the forecast period, mobile broadband subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are predicted to increase, 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. Over the forecast period, distinct volumes of 5G subscriptions are expected from 2022, reaching 5 percent in 2026.

While 5G and LTE subscriptions will continue to grow over the next 6 years, High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) will remain the dominant technology in SSA with a share of over 40 percent in 2026.

Service providers compete with distinct strategies 

Within Africa, offering-led is the most common strategy, frequently offering a wide range of services linked to mobile subscriptions such as gaming, mobile banking and insurance. A look at service offerings reveals that offering-led service providers tend to couple network performance with specific use cases and end-user expectations, like promoting the best network for video streaming.

The offering-led strategy is mostly deployed by challengers. The ambition is to be first to market with new offerings. Prominent in this strategy is maintaining a high level of market innovation to capture market share, often with one-for-all offerings, coupled with targeted distribution. These challengers use extensive campaigns and promotional programs to gain traction and capitalize on their “first-mover advantage”. 

Offering-led service providers also work with multiple partners in the area of products and services. They typically use modern technology – such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) – in their operations, as well as a wide use of omni-channel strategies for customer experience management.

Service providers offering Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) on the rise

 In addition to the need driven by the pandemic, there are three main factors that drive Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) growth. First, demand from consumers and businesses for digital services continues, driving the need for broadband connectivity. 

Second, FWA delivered over 4G or 5G is an increasingly cost-efficient broadband alternative in areas with limited availability of fixed services, such as DSL, cable and fiber. Increasing capacity, allowed by greater spectrum allocations and technology advancements for 4G and 5G networks, is driving higher network efficiency in terms of the cost per delivered gigabyte. 

Third, nations are fueling broadband connectivity through programs and subsidies, as it is considered vital for digitalization efforts and economic growth.

Download the November 2020 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report here

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Hooza Media in 8 companies with technological innovations that bring Solutions in E-Health

Hooza Media and other two Rwandan tech companies emerge in top 8 companies that have been able to reach the final stage of ITU Virtual Digital World 2020 SME Awards competition, E-Health Category, whose winner is Appy Saude from Angola.

Although these Rwandan companies have not been able to win prizes, they have been able to reach the finals beating hundreds of companies who participates in the competition.

Hooza Media whose Mobile Governance solution has shown potential in some African countries including Rwanda was in the same category with other Rwandan companies namely Higaneza Ltd Rwanda and Karisimbi Technology Solutions.

Normally ITU, the Geneva based UN organization organize the SME pitching and Award every year.

This year Hooza Media pitched its Mobile Governance solution for the last mile communities.

It enables vulnerable communities to access information via mobile phones without the need of internet.

The solutions push free short voice messages and allows users to reply with their own voice.

It has been decisive in the fight against pandemics such as Ebola and Covid-19.

Today the solution is helping teenagers to access Sexual Reproductive Health counselling services and also their parents can learn more on Gender Based violence and women rights.

The past 9 months has seen a surge in teenage pregnancy, a direct impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Hooza Media CEO Mr. Victor Nkindi, the solution shall help to reduce teenage pregnancy cases, which, under covid-19 lockdown (from March to June 2020) reached 13,257 across the country.

On this year’s ITU final Competition, Mr Nkindi said “Although we didn’t manage to win this year ITU Competition in E-Health category, we hope for the best in future as Mobile Industry and the need for E-Health services are increasing day by day.”

The Winners of 6th edition of International Telecommunications Union SME AWARD held online for the first time will get UN recognition, International visibility as well as an invitation to the Oct. 2021 ITU summit in Hanoi, Vietnam.

This year, ITU selected winners in 4 categories namely Connectivity, Digital Finance, Smart Cities, E-health.

Each category has saw one winner and apart from Appy Saude that beats competitors in E-Health, others are Astrome Technologies Private Limited from India that won Connectivity Category, BusMap Viet Nam, winner in Smart Cities category and OKO Finance from Israel, winner of Digital Finance Category.

Follow our hashtag #HoozaLive for live updates.


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Hooza Media seeks $ 200,000 to expand Mobile Solutions in Preventing Teen Pregnancies

As the problem of Teens pregnancies worsens, especially in adolescent girls, Hooza Media is seeking $ 200,000 to be able to expand its mobile Solutions in preventing Teen pregnancies, especially on the African continent.

Hooza Media, a Rwandan media company that has recently launched the technology in Rwanda has recorded significant impacts in delivering timely information that helps young people, parents as well as health workers in early pregnancies prevention among adolescent girls.

Rwanda has seen an increase in the number of teen pregnancies, which worsened during the COVID 19.

According to statistics, in 2017 Rwanda recorded 17,000 cases of Teen pregnancies, 20,000 cases in 2018, 24,000 cases in 2019 while in 2020, cases rose to 39,000 Teen pregnancies with 13,000 cases between March and June 2020.

Victor Nkindi, the Chief Executive of Hooza Media, says Hooza Mobile Governance Platform can provide a lasting solution to this problem.

Hooza Mobile Solutions is a modern voice messaging system that was launched in 2013 and is used in a few African countries including Rwanda, DR Congo, Senegal, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Mali.

Explaining the project to expand this approach to reach as many people as possible, especially in Africa, Victor Nkindi said it would require $ 200,000 for Hooza Mobile Governance Solutions to be used in Africa not only to deliver messages to teenagers but also in other activities that require information exchange.

Mr. Nkindi was addressing an ITU Virtual Digital World 2020 SME Awards Ceremony during which promising projects were pitched for funding prospects.

The effectiveness of this medium, according to Hooza is that mobile audio solution addresses the urgent need for African institutions to strengthen their communications by ensuring that a majority of individuals are reachable and can participate in the sustainable development of their community, when indeed, 88% of the population does not have access to the internet and 32% is not literate.

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Ericsson Mobility Report: 5G is estimated to cover 60 percent of the world’s population in 2026

Momentum continues in the build-out of 4G (LTE) networks. Global 4G population coverage will be over 80 percent at the end of 2020 and is forecast to reach around 95 percent in 2026.

4G networks are also evolving to deliver increased network capacity and faster data speeds.

There are currently 795 commercial 4G networks deployed.

 Of these, 324 have been upgraded to LTE-Advanced, and 41 Gigabit LTE networks have been commercially launched.

According to Ericsson Mobility Report released on Monday, 30th November, 2020, the 5G launch and deployment as per the end of 2019 Global 5G population coverage was around 5 percent at the end of 2019, with the main deployments made in larger cities.

The most extensive coverage build-outs have been in the US, China, South Korea and Switzerland.

In South Korea, service providers rapidly built 5G networks that covered a large part of the population.

In Switzerland, 5G population coverage reached over 90 percent at the end of 2019. 5G estimated to cover over 1 billion people by the end of 2020.

 To date, there have been more than 100 5G commercial launches across the world. The estimated population coverage by the end of 2020 is approximately 15 percent, equivalent to over 1 billion people.

5G coverage build-out can be divided into three broad deployments:

  1. New bands in the sub-6GHz range
  2. mmWave frequency bands
  3. Existing LTE bands

“There are big differences between countries in how service providers have deployed 5G. In the US, all three of these categories have been used, resulting in 5G coverage for a large part of the population. In Europe, countries such as Germany and Spain have used deployments in existing bands to create substantial coverage. China has mainly deployed new bands to achieve a large population coverage.” Explains part of the report.

The findings also highlighted that 5G estimated to cover around 60 percent of the population in 2026.

 There are several global factors impacting the forecast; the most evident short-term ones are COVID-19 and the geopolitical situation.

The exact impact of these factors on 5G population coverage remains to be seen. 5G is still expected to be the fastest deployed mobile communication technology in history and is forecast to cover about 60 percent of the world’s population in 2026.

Growth of Mobile Subscription in Sub-Saharan Africa

In Sub-Saharan Africa, mobile subscriptions will continue to grow over the forecast period as mobile penetration, at 84 percent, is less than the global average.

LTE is estimated to account for around 15 percent of subscriptions by the end of 2020.

LTE stands for “Long Term Evolution” and is a marketing phrase to signify progression toward true 4G.

Over the forecast period mobile broadband subscriptions are predicted to increase, reaching 76 percent of mobile subscriptions.

While 5G and LTE subscriptions will continue to grow over the next 6 years, HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) will remain the dominant technology with a share of over 40 percent in 2026.

The November Ericsson Mobility Report revealed that driving factors behind the growth of mobile broadband subscriptions include a young, growing population with increasing digital skills and more affordable smartphones.

Over the forecast period, discernible volumes of 5G subscriptions are expected from 2022, reaching 5 percent in 2026.

Middle East and North Africa

In the Middle East and North Africa region, around 30 percent of mobile subscriptions are estimated to be for LTE at the end of 2020. The region is anticipated to evolve over the forecast period, and by 2026, almost 80 percent of subscriptions are expected to be for mobile broadband, with LTE as the dominant technology with more than 50 percent of the subscriptions.

Commercial 5G deployments with leading service providers have taken place here during 2019 and 2020 and 5G subscriptions will reach close to 1.4 million by the end of 2020, with most in the Gulf countries.

Significant 5G volumes are expected in 2021 and the region is likely to reach around 130 million 5G subscriptions in 2026, representing around 15 percent of total mobile subscriptions.

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Ericsson Accelerating Africa’s Digital Future

Digital transformation driven innovative solutions and 5G internet to propel Africa towards the digital future were some of the highlights at the 2020 Virtual Africa Tech Festival (AfricaCom) from November 9 to 12, 2020.

The unprecedented event of 2020 has brought into focus the critical role that digital infrastructure plays in the functioning of almost every aspect of contemporary society.

At the event, global tech giant, Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) took center stage to share its role of connectivity in powering Africa’s digital future and in achieving a positive impact on people’s lives.

KT Press’s Daniel Sabiiti spoke to Ericsson Rwanda Spokesperson and Country Manager Jacques Kabandana (JK) to find out what the company has in package for Africa.

KT Press – What is the Ericsson plan, prospectus and progress on the 5G network in Africa? Where are we and what is being done to roll out this network?

JK- 5G holds immense potential of opportunities in Africa, driving the industry’s digitization and the pursue for innovation. 5G commercialization is planned between 2020 and 2022, with a focus on use cases and applications relevant in the African context. These include: Enhanced Mobile Broadband, Fixed Wireless Access, and the Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

As 5G offers greater throughput and lower latency, it will bring more use cases to Internet of Things, enabling massive connectivity and allowing new applications for consumers and enterprises such as smart vehicles and transport, architecture, remote healthcare and new levels of automation and human-IoT interaction.

Ericsson has been working in close partnership with African service providers on 5G from tests in the lab, field trials, and now initial customer deployment. Throughout this process, our customers and their service requirements are our top priority. Our aim is to build a network to cater for current and future required services.

In addition to facilitating the delivery of next-generation mobile broadband, cloud and providing support for massive IoT deployment, this collaboration will also enable new industry use cases thanks to increased throughput and reduced latency.

KT Press- How much is Ericsson investing in this network and which African regions or countries will be among the first beneficiaries?

JK- Ericsson is working with key service providers across the continent, helping them create new services, new customer bases and new digital ecosystems.

At the forefront of the digital transformation, MTN selected Ericsson a primary 5G vendor for the deployment of a live 5G network in Africa. As a partner, Ericsson is deploying next-generation technology with built-in customizations and innovations to deliver rich consumer experience while building a robust, future-proof network. The 5G-ready solutions in the Ericsson Radio System portfolio will help boost the capacity of MTN’s LTE network and broaden the availability of high-quality mobile broadband services for its subscribers.

In a related development, Telma Madagascar switched on their 5G commercial network to offer subscribers high-speed services enabled by the new generation of mobile connectivity. Powered by Ericsson, the 5G network is now live at 16 sites, and will further expand to five more sites during the course of 2020.

Ericsson is proud to contribute to Africa’s journey to building communication capabilities of the future and complement its efforts towards a vibrant digital economy. Our solutions help African service providers to automate, manage, and orchestrate hybrid networks in real time, while they engage digitally with customers and monetize improved customer experiences.

KT Press- 5G internet is an exciting progress in technological advancement but the biggest question is affordability. How do you plan on addressing this concern of which while internet is driving lives of many Africans, its access is still begging?

JK- In Sub-Saharan Africa, LTE accounted for around 11% of subscriptions in 2019. Broadband subscriptions are predicted to increase, reaching 72% of mobile subscriptions by 2025, according to the June 2020 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report. LTE share will reach around 30% by the end of the forecast period, and LTE subscriptions are set to triple, increasing from 90 million in 2019 to 270 million in 2025.

Driving factors behind the growth of mobile broadband subscriptions include a young and growing population with increasing digital skills, and more affordable smartphones. Over the forecast period, discernible volumes of 5G subscriptions are expected from 2022, reaching 3% by 2025.

In Africa, the evolution of 4G into 5G could be a powerful economic growth engine, particularly as this advanced mobile technology is deployed looking into improving productivity in key vertical industrial sectors.

The aim is for 5G networks to be highly efficient, faster, support more users, more devices, more services, and new use cases without a corresponding impact on cost or carbon footprint. 5G will revolutionize five key industries including: TV and media; manufacturing; healthcare; telecommunications and transportation and infrastructure.

KT Press- What is Ericsson’s plan in Accelerating Africa’s digital agenda, and what will this entail?

JK– Africa represents a world of opportunity for us at Ericsson and we are eager to grow our business and presence in the continent. We see a real potential in African markets when it comes to 4G and fintech adoption. To address that, we focus on supporting our customers in the African markets with relevant and cost-effective 4G solutions and services, all while adapting to Africa’s requirements.

The continent has emerged as one of the strongest adopters of innovation, with the rapid rise in usage of technology and smartphones. Just look at how mobile money was initiated in Africa and is now surging all over the continent.

Moreover, Africa has come a long way in its digitisation journey – from mobile telephony to broadband, and from connecting to digitising key economic sectors, jobs, education, healthcare, government and society in general.

We all agree that Africa is witnessing a major technology shift and the pace of change in Africa is becoming exponential. At Ericsson, we have launched #AfricaInMotion to accelerate technology roll-out in Africa together with our partners and reiterate our commitment to the continent.

KT Press- COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the world and how we do business. Has Ericsson picked any lessons from the COVID-19 crisis which could change the way the company does its business in this new normal, and possibly inform its investments in the Africa digital agenda?

JK- The pandemic has driven adoption and increased usage of many ICT services that have enabled consumers to build a new normal underpinned by connectivity. The massive disruption caused by COVID-19 has demonstrated the criticality of the network in today’s society and we are currently working closely with our customers to keep their networks running.

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.

A young and growing African population with savvy digital skills and behaviour could offset some adverse trends such as the current slowdown in global trade caused by the COVID-19 restrictions and indicate favourable growth for telecom and ICT services.

The current COVID-19 restrictions have demonstrated the benefits of a digitized economy, facilitating working from home as an example. This could prove to be an opportunity for Africa to accelerate its journey towards raising the role digital and telecom services play in a socio-economical context.

KT Press- How Ericsson is involved driving the virtual leadership in Africa which is one of the ways to build Africa’s most powerful business networks.

JK– We believe that ICT is the catalyst for digital transformation, with mobile networks being the crucial ingredient in increasing Africa’s economic competitiveness in the global arena. While we have witnessed impressive market developments in recent years, Africa’s ICT sector still has growth potential compared to leading economies.

A conducive, enabling policy environment that generates regulatory certainty is key to encouraging market development through partnerships, entrepreneurship, job creation and knowledge sharing. We at Ericsson are constantly looking for opportunities to collaborate and engage with partners across the board to facilitate such policy development to fast tracking digitization across the African continent and our recent collaboration with the African Telecommunications Union is one example.

Another initiative we have launched is our “Ericsson Graduates Program “, a program that will offer fresh graduates a chance to join experienced Ericsson staff for on-the-job, online and classroom learning followed by recruitment to join the Ericsson world. The program also engages with young talents from Africa – the changemakers-to explore and identify innovative ideas that reflect and capture the needs of the continent with an ambition to accelerate the African markets’ digitalization journey.

KT Press- At AfricaCom 2020, Ericsson presented innovative solutions to improve the efficiency of its customers’ network operations. What are some of these solutions and how will they make a difference?

JK- Ericsson showcased digital transformation and innovation solutions to propel Africa towards the future with an interactive exhibition dedicated to 5G, AI, IoT, blockchain, fintech, cloud, data centers and security.

As part of our Africa in Motion campaign, Ericsson’s focus at the event is on building the networks of Africa and accelerating its digital agenda using AI and automation as value creators. Experts highlighted CSR initiatives including Tech for Good and UNICEF GIGA Program as well as a wide range of connectivity solutions in addition to participating in empowering discussions and forming strategic partnerships geared towards unlocking new opportunities in the continent.

Ericsson also presented innovative solutions to improve the efficiency of its customers’ network operations, allowing them to focus on new services and technologies, and ultimately improve the experience for the user – driven by Ericsson’s Africa in Motion campaign.

KT- Ericsson plans on Applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) Automation across the Entire Lifecycle of Network Operations. Is Africa ready for AI and how do you plan on making this workable especially with issues surrounding personal data security and access to reliable internet in Africa?

JK- Africa has great readiness to embrace AI today. There is a very high potential to advance AI in both development and application fronts in Africa, and Ericsson is executing plans to build on this already.

We have been hiring data engineers, data scientists and data analysts based in African countries. One of the few Ericsson AI talent hubs is based in Africa already. We have also been deploying different AI use cases in different networks in the continent, so applying AI across the entire network operations lifecycle is a reality in Africa today.

Yet, as you have correctly mentioned, making this workable requires special attention to data privacy and security regulations as well as the infrastructure status in each country. We have seen different maturity levels across countries, so we believe that one solution will not fit all.

For example, we have used data anonymization techniques to ensure that if user-identifying information is being processed or transferred, it is done in the strictest manner adhering to local laws. We have also opted to use local instances of our AI algorithms wherever data transfer is not possible due to regulation, cost or infrastructure reliability.

KT Press- Ericsson is excited to participate at this year’s AfricaCom to continue setting #AfricaInMotion. What does this mean for the company and its Africa operations?

JK- The unprecedented events of 2020 have brought into focus the critical role that digital infrastructure plays in the functioning of virtually every aspect of contemporary society. Africa is home to over a billion people and the population is expected to grow in the coming years. It is also a continent with the most growing economies. ICT is essential for Africa’s development and adequate ICT service deployment and digital connectivity will play a crucial role in the continent achieving economic sustainability.

We are working with customers across Africa to build best performing network intelligence and automation solutions for increased speed and efficiency. Connectivity is pivotal to how we operate as a company and AfricaCom gave us an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to driving Africa’s digital future.

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Judiciary To Start Blacklisting Convicts Of Sexual Abuse

The Chief Justice Dr. Faustin Ntezilyayo has said that plans to publish names of persons who sexually abuse children is under consideration as requested by the parliament.

Dr. Ntezilyayo said that the current legal reforms will consider this aspect but all partners in the justice sector have taken up ‘arms’ to combine efforts in addressing the issue of child sexual abuse which has put the country on its heels.

The move comes after a recent Senate Social Affairs, Human Rights and Petitions Commission report presented on November 17, 2020 requested the government to consider blacklisting and publishing names of adults who sexually abuse under age children as a way of addressing concerns on this issue.

“This should be done as it is in the case of blacklisted civil servants by the labor commission, as done by the ombudsman for corrupt officials,” said Commission Chairperson Senator Adrie Umuhire.

The senate request follows several private, government entities and parliament that raised concerns of the issue of child sexual abuse cases increasing, especially during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown period.

Rwanda Health Management Information System (HealMIS) report shows that in 2017 there were 17,337 cases of teen pregnancies and in 2018, they reached 19,832 cases while in 2019 teen pregnancies hit 23,628, of which the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) only managed to arrest and file court cases for 4,265 suspected child abusers.

Chief Justice Dr. Faustin Nteziryayo

And under covid-19 lockdown (from March to June 2020) cases of teenage pregnancies reached 13,257 across the country.

The Senate report, presented by Sen. Adrie Umuhire, also showed that there has been a lag in prosecuting persons suspected of child abuse, due to silence over the issue, out of court negotiation and failure for the prosecution to collect enough evidence to pin the suspects.

In 2016/17 fiscal year, National Prosecution office received 2086 files regarding defilement but only 61% (1285) made it to court and 1052 cases won.

The following fiscal year, 2017/18, 2996 files were received and 1866 reached court and 1472 were won.

In 2018/19, the cases increased to 3363 files and 2221 of these made it to court while 1621 of them got a conviction.

Col Jeannot Ruhunga, Executive Secretary Rwanda Investigation Bureau(RIB)

Basing on this data, Chief Justice said that the judiciary is aware of these issues that have been brought up at several levels and they are planning on acting to the plight of government.

“The possibility of blacklisting such convicted people (child abusers) is being considered in the ongoing legal reforms but we will follow up on this issue as a combined effort,” Dr. Ntezilyayo said Monday during a press conference to launch the 2020 judicial week.

As a matter of combined efforts, a Rwandan digital innovative media company, Hooza has also announced plans to use its mobile services product to intervene in solving this issue through providing free child abuse and pregnancy prevention messages that are broadcast on mobile phones.

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Hooza Media To Use Mobile Solutions In Preventing Teen Pregnancies

A Rwandan digital innovative media company, Hooza, is planning to use its mobile services product to intervene in the country’s bid to create information-based solutions to addressing the issue of increasing teenage pregnancies.

With the increased access to the mobile phone in Rwanda, the media company uses its mobile audio solution, to engaged and enhance citizen engagement in election education among rural populations in Rwanda.

With this solution Hooza uses mobile phones as a medium to broadcast short voice messages to beneficiaries who receive key information on election news and updates, sport, health, education among other categories.

This in collaboration with the National Electoral Commission (NEC) was very crucial in the civic education and awareness during the 2017 presidential election period.

The campaign saw more than 400,000 citizens responding everyday with their concerns and inquiries in order to check their names on voting lists, the location of the voting bureau, what they do in case they lose their ID, details on the candidates’ names and backgrounds, or at what age they can vote.

In return, the Electoral Commission was able to collect their feedback in real time and immediately address their particular problems, requests or situations.

The effectiveness of this medium, according to Hooza is that mobile audio solution addresses the urgent need for African institutions to strengthen their communications by ensuring that a majority of individuals are reachable and can participate in the sustainable development of their community, when indeed, 88% of the population does not have access to the internet and 32% is not literate.

Using this experience, of which Victor Nkindi, the Founder and CEO Hooza says is cheaper, affordable and effective in media communication and information dissemination, compared to social media, the company is  planning to use the same medium to reach more teenagers prone or faced with challenges of living with effects of early pregnancies.

Enhancing community health literacy in sexual reproductive health.

“We are sourcing institutional partners to secure airtime cost so that the content can be delivered for free, (and) we are looking for maximum advocacy and lobbying,” Nkindi said.

Nkindi said that the target group will be all communities countrywide who will get messages aimed at prevention, education and supporting teenagers who have been victims of sexual abuse.

Nkindi made the revelation on Friday in a virtual discussion during the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) in Botswana in which Rwanda was represented by Hooza, and discussed the “Power of media influence on Africa’s Startup Ecosystem” sharing Rwanda’s example.

In seven years of operations, Hooza said it has accumulated an audience of 2.6 million users in Rwanda and five other African countries where Hooza deployed its services.

By introducing this new medium of communication, Nkindi said they will be able to equally reach out and address the problem of teenage pregnancies using access to critical information (Mobile Governance).

This initiative comes at a time when government is seeking lasting solutions to end child sexual abuse and increasing teenage pregnancies which has been escalated by the Covid-19 crisis.

For example, the Rwanda Health Management Information System (HealMIS) report shows that in 2017 there were 17,337 cases of teen pregnancies and in 2018, they reached 19,832 cases while in 2019 teen pregnancies hit 23,628, of which the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) only managed to arrest and file court cases for 4,265 suspected child abusers.

And under covid-19 lockdown (from March to June 2020) cases of teenage pregnancies reached 13,257 across the country.

The GEW Botswana session was attended by Benedict Mooketsi from Botswana Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN-Botswana), former Miss Botswana, Malebogo Marumoagae from Belle Larissa (a consultancy startup) and moderated by Keletso Mokolwane of Afripreneur.

The participants wanted to learn from the Hooza media’s experience as a way of transferring the same business solutions to their respective countries where access to information is barred by lack of internet access or illiteracy.

“We need to think what we can do with media tools like those Hooza has developed. How do we bring such solutions to other markets such as Botswana,” Benedict Mooketsi asked for more details of how each country can transfer startups to the others to solve problems that need innovation.

Nkindi said that if other countries can do what Rwanda has done, to embark on good governance, business-enabling policies and investment environment this would allow startup business to grow, however, stated that though Rwanda has progressed in startup innovation space, skills training and financial management are areas where the country is also looking for help from others.

Read the original story here

Read the original story here


Rwanda encourages more U.S, EU Investments as Private sector strives to recover from COVID 19 impacts

The European Union and the US Embassy in Rwanda have pledged to sustain cooperation with the Government of Rwanda in continuing to promote investment while the country continues to deal with the impact of COVID 19 on economic growth as well as the investment and trade sectors.

The talks on cooperation between the two partners and the Government of Rwanda were held at the European Business Chamber (EBCR) and American Chamber in Rwanda (AmCham) Webinar with the Chief Executive Officer of  Rwanda Development Board Clare Akamanzi who highlighted how the Government of Rwanda managed the complicated times of COVID 19 and how the recovery programs will need joint effort as the country’s economic growth has hardly hit by the pandemic despite positive hopes in the recovery.

The webinar was attended by Board members for the EU and the American Chambers of Commerce, the EU Ambassador to Rwanda, the US Ambassador to the Rwanda as well as Claire Akamanzi, the CEO of the RDB and ‘others.

In the course of the webinar, the EU Ambassador Nicola Bellomo commends the Government of Rwanda’s efforts to combat COVID 19 and the Establishment of the Economic Recovery Fund, which was created to address the impact of the epidemic on the economy and especially on the Private sector.

Ambassador Bellomo also commends the government and the people of Rwanda for the effective and timely response to COVID 19 adding that “We as European Union, we are strongly supporting thanks to what we call the team Europe approach the government of Rwanda in the response to this crisis.”

He added that “On the social economic response, we also particularly welcome the establishment of the economic recovery fund” while at the same time both partners might also identify through the crises some unseen opportunities with a shared interest in supporting the government of Rwanda in laying the foundation for a stronger and more resilient economic development model.

On the U.S support, Ambassador Peter Vrooman said that since the beginning of COVID, the United States has been helping Rwanda cope with the epidemic through a variety of recovery support, including in health, the private sector and also contribution to the Recovery Fund.

Claire Akamanzi comment on the existing measures to promote investment in Rwanda in the face of the global economic crisis, says that the Rwandan government has revised its investment code including facilitating investors through various incentives and this gives hope that the Rwanda’s economy will return to normal.

Madam Akamanzi explains that the new investment code is going to be very catalytic in attracting more investments in Rwanda and the reason for that is that “we’ve created an investment code that is very pragmatic and also very much aligned with our performance.”

She says “We have new sectors that we are giving incentives like financial services because of the international financial Centre that we’re putting in place.”

Recently, the cabinet meeting led by President Paul Kagame has approved the composition of IFC (International financial Corporation) which is tasked to provide a wide range of investment and advisory services that help businesses and entrepreneurs meet the challenges they face in the marketplace.

Claire Akamanzi added that this is part of supporting innovation by coming up with seed capital fund in the investments sector.

“We are also incentivizing industrial park development because it has been a very good source of manufacturing I think if you read the investment code at the draft investment code you see exactly where what to expect to be in terms of economic priorities, because those have been very specifically located incentives.” She noted

“I am also really excited that we’re increasingly seeing companies coming to set up their headquarters in Rwanda, or their regional offices and we’ve catered for their needs.” Akamanzi told the Webinar

She commends philanthropic organizations that are looking at Africa and looking for regional offices in Africa.

Clare Akamanzi also expressed gratitudes to all the chambers (EU and American) and assuring them that RDB is ready to continue to help all investors through various departments including one that has access to information on Investment in Rwanda.

She says that the US and the European region geographies remained very important sources for investment in Rwanda.

“So, we’re very happy to see that this platform is an added platform for engagement, but on the recovery fund, obviously, first of all, and the whole recovery of our economy.” She noted

“This year is going to be something that we are learning about as we go on and many of you have followed the economy performance over the last year’s 2019 for me was probably the best year you know in our achievements, the economy grew at 9.4% one of the highest in a while our investments reached a record $2.4 billion of investment deals that we registered in Rwanda development Board.

“We had the biggest growth of tourism at $ 490 million dollars in 2019 and so 2020 for us we started very excited thinking it’s going to be a sustained high performance on the economy on tourism and investment and then of course COVID 19 happened and the picture is not as we had expected in January of this year, we expect the economy to contract by point 2% that’s the latest projection from IMF” Akamanzi explains.

The contractions on the economy will happen because of the tough decisions that the government had to take in order to contain COVID 19 which was important.

“And so, we’ve seen that the tough decisions that slowed down the economy helped manage better COVID 19 and we’re very encouraged when we see how Rwanda is being viewed by the rest of the world in terms of the pandemic control.

COVID 19 has had a detrimental effect on the country’s economy where it has slowed down the existing economy and hit most the private sector and tourism while they are the cornerstone of Rwanda’s economy.

Such discussions are hopefully to play a role in reminding investors that Rwanda is still the best place to bring investment as a fresh and growing market destination.

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Ericsson Interview –October 2020

Spokesperson: Todd Ashton, Vice President and Head of Ericsson East and South Africa

  1. Take us through the Historical background of Ericsson and how the company’s administration decided to invest into the Rwandan and East African Market?

Ericsson has done business in East Africa for over 100 years when sales of telephone receivers commenced in 1894.We are well established with offices in Rwanda, Ethiopia, 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.

We at Ericsson believe that ICT has the ability to level the global playing field and enable African countries to harness the full potential of their human capital. We also agree that a well-planned policy and regulatory environment is key to encouraging partnerships, entrepreneurship, job creation and knowledge sharing.

  • Ericsson as a telecommunication company has invested in the modernization of its technologies. Where are you now in terms tech innovations? IoT for instance?

Massive IoT technologies continue to be rolled out around the world, but at a slightly slower pace in 2020 than previously forecast due to the impact of COVID-19. 2G and 3G connectivity still enable the majority of IoT applications, but during 2019, the number of Massive IoT connections increased by a factor of 3, reaching close to 100 million connections at the end of the year according to Ericsson Mobility Report figures.

At Ericsson, our new offerings within cellular IoT will enable service providers to address a larger part of the IoT market – with more advanced use cases, across multiple industries. Broadband IoT and Industrial Automation IoT are launched as new segments, to complement the existing segments Massive IoT and Critical IoT. We’ve also enhanced our Massive IoT offering which, together with new Broadband IoT solutions, are designed to leverage new capabilities across 4G and 5G – connecting service providers with new growth opportunities in industry digitalization. 

  • What are the feasible 5g applications for IoT that are applicable for social development in East Africa (ie health care, soil monitoring, education, transportation)?

5G will revolutionize 5 key industries including: TV and media; manufacturing; healthcare; telecommunications; and transportation and infrastructure. Ericsson’s 5G Business Potential report outlines a set of industries served by more than 200 qualified 5G-enabled use cases, divided into nine use case categories or clusters. These are enhanced video services, real-time automation, monitoring and tracking, connected vehicle, autonomous robotics, hazard and maintenance sensing, smart surveillance, remote operations and augmented reality.

Each use case category or cluster serves a set of industries. Looking at a couple of examples, ‘Enhanced video services’, is as expected, dominated by the media and entertainment industry. But in addition, more than half of its value comes from other industries, such as healthcare, manufacturing and public safety industries. For ‘Real-time automation’, the value is largely being built up on the industries of public transportation, manufacturing and healthcare. 

  • How do you stimulate the market and the SME’s appetite towards your services?

Our primary mission as a company is the development and deployment of mobile broadband.  This has major benefits both for the economy and for society and will unleash the innovation potential for both consumer and SMEs across Africa.  We believe that achieving broadband is a basic human right and we know that for every 1000 new broadband connections, 80 new jobs are created (Ericsson and ArthurDLittle). 

A 10% increase in mobile broadband adoption secures 0.6 to 2.8% GDP growth (Ericsson and Imperial college) and doubling of average achieved broadband speed generates an additional 0.3% GDP growth (e, ArthurD little, Chalmers university).  Therefore, we believe it’s important to accelerate the rollout of 4G and prepare for 5G in the near future.

One important enabler for the acceleration is the development and implementation of regulatory policies that stimulate investment and competition.  In most markets we see that about three license holders can make significant investments to achieve a good and affordable customer experience for mobile broadband while at the same time getting reasonable returns.  In Rwanda specifically, we are encouraging the release of technology neutral spectrum for mobile companies with a track record and willingness to invest in mobile broadband.  These licenses should be affordable and long term in nature, thereby creating a better case for investment in order to achieve the economic benefits outlined above.

  • How do you see the contribution of Ericsson in responding to digital divide in Africa and especially in countries of East Africa?

Our mission has always been to help our customers connect the unconnected. This can be challenging under normal circumstances but especially critical in a time of crisis like we have now.

Our engineers and field staff are part of critical teams deployed during a crisis. Our teams have been working around the clock to ensure our customers’ networks can withstand shifts in bandwidth needs as people continue to work and use video conferencing from home and kids are attending classes online instead of in the classroom.

The communications industry supports other industries by enabling them to deliver digital products and services such as health care, education, finance, commerce, governance and agriculture. It also plays a vital role in tackling climate change by helping other industries reduce emissions and improve efficiency. We are continuing to stay close to our customers to understand their needs, and we are doing everything possible to support our customers to maximize their network capacity and performance.

  • What are Ericsson’s projects taking place that one can benefit from? Especially for Young entrepreneurs in the nascent business ecosystems and those whose services tackle key development sectors?

Our annual Ericsson Innovation Awards (EIA) is a global competition that offers university students around the world the chance to develop new, innovative ideas with support from Ericsson experts. The 2020 Ericsson Innovation Awards (EIA) is a call to ‘Reclaim the Future.’ This year, the annual global competition calls on students around the globe to set major change in motion by committing to addressing the current and future challenges of climate action. Focused on how ICT/technology solutions can provide radical climate change mitigation for consumers and industry alike.

Ericsson also has a Graduate Program in several African countries including Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan and Angola. The program aims to fast-track young, potential leaders, train them in the Ericsson ways of working and strategy as well as ensure that they are geared up to meet the business challenges of the future.

Ericsson’s Graduate Program will cultivate change leaders and impactful executors in Africa who strive to make the company better through the orchestration of culture, process, and technology. It will develop ambitious, agile and high performing leaders who will contribute to next generation technologies for years to come.

In addition, Ericsson is committed to developing STEM leaders through digital transformation initiatives and events in East Africa. 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.

  • Recently Ericsson has been ranked as the 12 most sustainably managed company in the world, congratulations! What are the lessons on the new normal and adaptation to remote working at Ericsson?

Sustainability is central to Ericsson’s purpose – and the company was recently ranked #12 on The Wall Street Journal’s list of the 100 Most Sustainably Managed Companies in the World.

Ericsson’s Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility strategy focuses on three pillars: responsible business, environmental sustainability and digital inclusion. We firmly believe in sustainability practices based on science and embedded throughout our business can help create value for employees, customers, investors and – ultimately – society. It’s excellent recognition of cross-company collaboration to reduce risks and create positive impacts across our value-chain.

We are going through unprecedented times with the coronavirus pandemic, which has impacted everyone around the world either directly or indirectly. As a global company with around 100,000 employees and presence in 180 countries, we are aware of our responsibilities towards the societies where we operate. Throughout this crisis, we guide our decisions by putting the safety and health of our employees, customers and partners as a first priority. Ericsson currently has a large number of employees working from home globally. All main production sites are currently in operation.