Microsoft, the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, parent company of pan-African banking group Ecobank today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to complement African governments' efforts to modernise and raise the standards of the continent's major cities through state of the art digital solutions.
The MOU will see the modernisation of sectors that will have the most immediate and significant impact for African countries. These sectors will include bursary disbursements and school fee collections in the education sector; market shop and small vendor municipality collections, vehicle and driving licensing as well as eVisa and ePassport fee collections. The agreement also supports the implementation of a comprehensive e-skills and a digital literacy programme. Other key areas such as land registration and fee collections in the municipal and hospital services are all expected to see some tremendous modernisation.
The collaboration ensued from increasing pressure on African cities due to urbanisation and the need to provide services that will ensure a healthier and safer environment, delivered in a fair, open and sustainable manner.
"At Microsoft, our aim is to help societies digitally transform, from the single consumer to entire government departments," said Amr Kamel, General Manager, Microsoft. "Any nation properly supported by technology can transform into an intelligent ecosystem, capable of engaging with its citizens, empowering employees and optimizing operations to vastly improve lives."
As a means of ensuring the effective modernisation of key areas in government, Microsoft and Ecobank will collaborate in sharing best practice and technical guidance to government workers or citizens who will be using the applications regularly.
Ecobank Group CEO Ade Ayeyemi said: "Microsoft is a globally recognised brand. We are delighted to partner with Microsoft to move faster on our digital transformation strategy- the main focus of which is to increase financial inclusion in Africa."
Zambia: Ericsson Chosen by Airtel for network transformation
Ericsson has extended its partnership with Airtel Zambia, headquartered in Lusaka, Zambia, with a new contract covering the transformation of Airtel’s radio access network (RAN) infrastructure in every major region of Zambia. This extended partnership will, according to both parties, both optimise the subscriber experience and strengthen Airtel’s market leadership in the country.
The contract covers equipment, software and range of professional services, including project management, systems integration and support. It also covers the transformation of existing 2G infrastructure, swap out of existing 3G sites.
Ericsson will provide equipment from the Ericsson Radio System family that are flexible to changing demands on the road to 5G with multi-standard, multi-band and multi-layer technology. This will enable energy-efficient and cost-effective operations while allowing Airtel to meet growing subscriber demands for better and faster mobile internet connectivity.
Peter Correia, Managing Director, Airtel Zambia, says: “We are committed to offering our customers the best user experience. Partnering with Ericsson who are performance and technology leaders to upgrade our network, ensures that we continue to deliver a wide selection of best in class customized services with excellent quality to our customers, transforming the way they live, work and play.”
Fredrik Jejdling, Head of Region Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa, says: “We are excited by the opportunity for inclusion and empowerment that increased connectivity extends to Africa and Zambia. This agreement builds on our long-term strategic business relationship with Airtel, while delivering a superior network performance to Airtel Zambia’s subscribers and supporting part of Africa’s growth story.”
Ericsson Radio System delivers the industry’s most energy efficient and compact radio solution, maintaining performance leadership at half the size and weight. The flexibility inherent in the architecture is made possible by targeted software deployment, which enables fast and efficient rollout of new capabilities.
Huawei launched 169 base stations to connect rural Zambia
Chinese communications equipment giant Huawei Technologies has launched the first of a series of 169 base stations that will connect rural communities in Zambia to the mobile phone network.
The development will bring the latest mobile voice and data technology to thousands of people in remote locations across the country, enabling them to keep in touch with family and friends, find out what is happening elsewhere in the nation, and become integrated into the global community.
The first tower was officially launched yesterday (April 17, 2014) by Vice President Dr Guy Scott at Matanda in Luapula Province, accompanied by the Minister of Transport Works Supply and Communications Hon. Yamfwa Mukanga, the Chinese Ambassador to Zambia H.E. Zhou Yuxiao and Huawei Technologies Zambia Managing Director Spawn Fan Wen, along with the board Chairperson of Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) Emmanuel Musonda, ZICTA Director General Margaret Mudenda, traditional leaders and more than 500 people from the surrounding area.
The coming of the communication towers will provide business opportunities for people in rural areas, said Dr Scott, who urged women and youths in particular to seize those opportunities to engage in business.
Huawei is constructing communications towers as part of ZICTA’s project to build 169 towers in all ten provinces: 21 in Central Province; 11 in the Copperbelt; 23 in Eastern Province; 19 in Luapula; two in Lusaka; 12 in Muchina; 19 in Northern Province; 26 in North-Western Province, 21 in Southern and 15 in Western Province.
The towers, of which some 57 will be serviced by Zamtel, 56 by MTN and 56 by Airtel, are expected to be completed before the end of October this year.
"Through our dedicated effort and commitment to the Zambian market, we endeavor to work with local partners towards improved network quality, affordable rates and more value-added services for the benefit of the people of Zambia,” Mr Spawn told dignitaries.
"Job creation is a key part of this strategy, and that employment will come in a number of ways. Firstly, Huawei will be employing more people to help in construction of the towers. Secondly, the economic and social benefit generated by the connection of these remote areas will generate business opportunities, stimulate trade and open up whole new markets for labour and produce,” he added.
Since the liberalisation of the telecommunication sector in 1994, Zambia has witnessed significant growth in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector. Growth has been recorded in the number of mobile telephone subscribers, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Internet users, broadcasting stations, postal/courier operators and telecommunications networks.