Monday July 29, 2019
Monday, July 29, 2019
Monday July 29, 2019

Egypt Today – Egypt

Sisi affirms Egypt’s support to Sudanese people

Ethiopian News Agency – Ethiopia

Ethiopia Launches Massive Tree Planting Campaign

TAP – Tunisia

Caid Essebsi was active and courageous actor in establishment of democracy in Tunisia (Angela Merkel)

SA News – South Africa

SA, Japan collaborate to address pollution

Seychelles News Agency – Seychelles

President of Maldives to Visit Seychelles On Friday, Talk About Tourism, Blue Economy

Sudan Tribune - Sudan

South Sudan looking for new investments in oil and gas

This Day – Nigeria

Nigeria: SON Prepared for AfCFTA – DG

Premium Times (Abuja)

Nigeria: 2019 African Games - Nigeria Lists Okagbare, Oduduru, 49 Others

The New Times – Rwanda

Is Africa ready for 5G?

By: Kenneth Agutamba

This was supposed to be my commentary for last Sunday but the Karongi district road-star stole the show. It has been a big week for me as I was helped to leave a day-job I’ve held for the last seven months, to focus, fulltime on a project I have toyed with since last year.

It is a project to try and put the fish back in the lake, where it belongs, after it was, some three years ago, led away on an adventure in the corporate public relations world; anyway, not to waft away from the focus of today’s commentary, that was to just give you a hint.

A fortnight ago, Kigali hosted the GSMA Mobile 360 Series, a platform that helps drive regional engagement on topics impacting the mobile industry on both localised and global scale; it gathered hundreds of senior telecom, banking and technology executives.

The GSMA is a trade body that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide and currently has in its membership, about 800 mobile operators as well as 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem considered as associate members.

I didn’t attend the conference but, on its sidelines, I privately met with two executives that had travelled all the way from London and Hong Kong, respectively, to summit in Kigali.

Over lunch, I met with Emeka Obiodu, the Director of strategy at GSMA based in London. Since last year, Emeka has led the ‘5G Taskforce’ that saw him work with GSMA Board member companies and other industry stakeholders to develop 5G guidelines for operators.

But what is 5G? In a layman’s understanding, we are generally talking about internet and how faster it can go, from the current 4G speed; its promoters are hyping it as set to usher in ‘an era of boundless connectivity and intelligent automation.’

I found it quite interesting that an African is playing a lead role in the 5G global revolution, even when most parts of the continent are yet to get a taste of 2G or 3G with 4G largely still an emerging luxury for users. Is it too early for 5G? Or it’s Africa that’s running late?

Late or timely, the conversation on 5G is already here with us and mobile operators around the world are being prepared for this next generation wireless technology era in a series of regional GSMA Mobile 360 meetings including one that Kigali just hosted, a fortnight ago.

On Friday, technology commentator Scott Fulton wrote that: {5G} is a capital improvement project the size of the entire planet that aims to replace the current wireless architecture with another, aiming to lower energy consumption and maintenance costs.

But he added, “it (5G) is a huge gamble on the future of transmission technology that will double down on the consumers’ willingness to upgrade (from 4G to 5G).”

For most internet consumers in Africa, it is not yet a question of ‘willingness to upgrade or not’ but somewhat a challenge of ‘access and affordability’ so choice is still, largely a fantasy.

This is where Tim Metz from the Hong Kong based KaiOS technology, comes in.

I met Tim over coffee and he told me about their global mission to connect a billion users to the internet through their ‘Smart Feature Phone’ which costs less than US$25.

Built like the old Nokia type phone, the Smart Feature Phones come with an inbuilt operating system that enables connectivity to 3G internet as well as basic Smartphone apps such as WhatsApp, cameras, YouTube, Google search on top of texting and calling.

Since 2017, Tim’s KaiOS backed Smart feature Phone has helped give nearly 100million people their first mobile internet experience and the movement is growing like a wild-fire.

KaiOS is helping balance the conversation between deepening affordable access to internet and migration to 5G for those that already have access and can afford 4G-connectivity.

But it is also a question of strategic market leadership by Africa’s leading telecom companies; and this is where remarks by MTN Rwanda Chief Executive Bart Hofker, during the opening session of the GSMA Mobile 36o meeting in Kigali, comes into play.

“True leadership in digital transformation is not about being first in technology innovations (like 5G) but to include as many people as possible.  At MTN Group, we are fronting the CHASE-strategy to remove the barriers to being connected,” he said.

CHASE, he explained, stands for Coverage, Handsets, Affordability, Services and Education. I guess the telecom giant has allocated budget to create more awareness on this strategy, which I think, is more important to most Rwandans than the conversation on 5G, currently.

Tim’s KaiOS fits in well with MTN’s CHASE strategy. The two are already in partnership to popularise the Smart Feature Phone across the telecom giant’s footprint in Africa. In Rwanda, MTN Ikosora has already helped connect hundreds of thousands of Rwandans to internet.

CHASE, therefore, is the best vehicle for Africa to chase the rest of the world that is already racing towards 5G; catch-up is possible only if access and affordability gaps are fixed.

For instance, of MTN Rwanda’s 4.7million voice customers, only 1 million are active on Data. The 3.7million is not just a challenge but also a growth opportunity.

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The Citizen (Dar es Salaam)

Southern Africa: SADC Summit 2019 - Tanzania's Engagement in SADC-Past, Present and the Future

By: Uledi Mussa

Tanzania has been honoured by member states of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to host a two-day summit of Heads of State and Government in Dar es Salaam on August 17-18, 2019.

During the summit, the President of Tanzania, Dr John Magufuli, will also assume the chairmanship of Sadc for a year to August 2020.

His endorsement for the chairmanship was done in the last summit in accordance with the Sadc Treaty, which provides for the Vice Chairperson to take up the chairmanship on having successfully held the Vice Chairmanship in the previous year ending in August 2019.

Again, this is a demonstration of the Sadc states' faith and confidence in President Magufuli's leadership.

Sadc was established through a treaty signed on August 17, 1992 by 11 founding members in which Tanzania was one of them. The establishment of Sadc consists of periods of highs and lows.

Sadc passed through very painful moments as a Group of Frontline States for the liberation struggle in getting rid of apartheid and undemocratic rule in Southern Africa, followed by its re-engineering into a Southern African Development Coordination Conference (Sadcc), which was ultimately transformed into the present Sadc.

Some political analysts are of the view that possibly the Sadc that we know today would have been non-existent had Tanzania been absent in Sadc regional integration equation.

The arguments in support of this theory are that the other Frontline States were constraint geographically; economically; and militarily to counter South Africa's apartheid regime and aggression.

The only interventions that they could afford were clandestine operations and indeed limited to sabotage of soft targets and demonstrations.

Thus, it was only Tanzania that could mount the liberation struggle openly through both human and material contributions such as hosting training camps for guerrilla warfare at Morogoro, Coast Region and Mtwara as well conduct diplomatic campaigns regionally and internationally.

Since its inception in 1992, the Sadc membership has grown from 11 to 16. The members are Angola, Botswana, Comoro, DR-Congo, eSwatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Leaving aside the historical perspective of Sadc and Tanzania's role in its formation, this brief presents the benefits accruing from Tanzania's membership in Sadc and the future prospects.

Future prospects of Tanzania in Sadc

The future prospects of Tanzania in Sadc is very bright because it endowed with abundant natural resources and huge arable land. These natural endowments imply that Tanzania could use regional integration as a trade policy instrument for accelerating its economic growth and socioeconomic transformation.

It is in this context that Tanzania will continue to benefit from Sadc in the following areas:-

Export Expansion and Diversification:

Sadc is currently a trade-driven integration scheme as opposed to its political liberation past.

Therefore, it goes without saying that Tanzania's priority number one should be export expansion and diversification into the Sadc market.

This can be achieved through agricultural-led industrialisation and minerals beneficiation. Recent state visit to Zimbabwe, among others, by President Magufuli, showed that Tanzania could be a granary for food security in the region.

Infrastructure Development: roads, railways and air connective for the Sadc region as well as power generation and transmission.

Nonetheless, there is a need for undertaking intensive sensitization and awareness creation to the technocrats, the private sector and the general public on the Sadc business and investment opportunities.

The Sadc opportunities ought to be known by the majority of Tanzanians and be mainstreamed into its development plans and strategies.

Regional integration is one of the most popular and tested models of economic development in the world. For example, it was through regional integration that the European Union, a region divided by conflicts and left in shambles after the Second World War, that transformed it into one of world's biggest economies.

The popularity of regional integration stems from the rationale that regional integration schemes enable members to open up their markets for intra-regional trade; to pool their resources and potential in implementing projects and programmes which otherwise wouldn't have been possible for a single country to undertake and as a result realize accelerated growth and development.

Thus, Tanzania, is expected not only to pursue regional integration as a trade policy instrument but also to galvanise the Sadc member states integration agenda as it assumes chairmanship, come August 2019.

Mr Uledi Musa retired as a Permanent Secretary in the Premier's Office.