With a substantial investment in 5G infrastructure, Airtel Nigeria is poised to shape the future of communication in the country. The introduction of their 5G network marks a significant milestone, empowering businesses, fostering innovation, and paving the way for the digital transformation of Nigerian cities. Airtel Nigeria has firmly positioned itself as a catalyst for progress in the telecommunications industry.
Google’s underwater internet cable has arrived in Togo, bringing internet access to millions of people and creating 37,000 jobs in the process.
Technology giant Google and CSquared announced a new digital partnership with the Togolese Republic on Friday, March 18, 2022, in Lome, Togo, which involves the launch of ‘Equiano,’ a subsea internet cable that stretches from Portugal to South Africa, bringing 37,000 new employment by 2025.
This is Google’s first subsea cable landing in Africa and is, therefore, a unique project for both Togo and Google. Having been in the works for 3+ years, the cable will allow for much-improved access to the internet for millions of people on the continent.
The cable, which has 12 fibre pairs with a design capacity of 150Tbps, will connect Portugal to South Africa, with branches planned in Togo, Nigeria, St. Helena, DR Congo, and Namibia.
The project’s landing station in Togo, as well as its operation, is the result of a collaboration between Google, CSquared, and Togo’s public telecom body, Société d’Infrastructures Numériques (SIN). Togo owns a 44 percent ownership in the partnership, which is known as CSquared Woezon.
The corporation will be responsible for the maintenance and operation of the Equiano submarine cable, as well as the existing e-Government and Communauté Electrique du Bénin (CEB) terrestrial optic fibre networks on Togolese territory. In terms of international capacity sales, CSquared Woezon will give open access to all national and regional operators on a commercial basis that is objective, transparent, and non-discriminatory, in accordance with industry norms and international best practices.
Madam Cina Lawson, Minister of Digital Economy and Digital Transformation for Togo said: “As Togo continues to earn its place on the regional and international stage as a digital hub and a favourable ecosystem for innovation and investment, our collaboration with Google and CSquared in successfully landing Equiano further demonstrates Togo’s commitment to enhancing public and social services for all citizens so that they can benefit economically.”
Attia Byll, Managing Director of SIN, added: “We are thrilled by the opportunities that this partnership with CSquared and Google will bring to the people of Togo and the country as a whole.”
Togo’s Digital 2025 Strategy
The Republic of Togo’s digital strategy will accelerate social inclusion and economic development which will:
- Include all citizens in the society and economy through biometric identification and access to high-speed internet and technological equipment.
- Digitize public and social services to bring users closer to the public administration.
- Accelerate the transformation of the economy and make Togo a digital hub with an ecosystem of innovation and startups.
Togo’s vision is to achieve economic and social development through increased digitization. Roughly, ¾ of the forty-two projects and reforms formulated in the government’s roadmap 2020-2025 have a digital component. In order to achieve this ambition, Togo needed to elaborate a digital transformation strategy to accelerate financial inclusion and economic development. Broadband connectivity can be a powerful catalyst as well as an anchor for economic and social advancement in developing countries.
It creates jobs and business opportunities that lead to greater economic development. Considering the great benefits of broadband connectivity to individuals and businesses alike, it is crucial for emerging markets to invest in the build-out of broadband infrastructure, enabling abundant, low-cost connectivity.
Togo is already ranked sixth in Africa for ease of doing business, and Equiano, once operational, will provide 20 times more bandwidth than any other cable now reaching West Africa, assisting the country in attracting additional investments and bolstering its thriving startup culture.
According to an economic impact evaluation of Equiano in Togo conducted by Africa Practice and Genesis Analytics, the subsea cable is expected to create around 37,000 new jobs and raise Togo’s economic output by USD 351 million between 2022 and 2025.
Nitin Gajria, Managing Director of Google Sub-Saharan Africa commented, “The landing of Equiano affirms Google’s commitment to the African continent, to support Africa’s digital transformation. We are thrilled that Togo will be Equiano’s first landing on the African continent, as it aligns with the country’s continuing efforts to promote digital inclusion for Africa. We look forward to working closely with the Togolese Government and The Ministry of Digital Economy and Transformation as they continue to build their digital infrastructure.”
Lanre Kolade, CSquared Group Chief Executive Officer shared, “CSquared is honoured to be part of Togo’s Digital Strategy, a strategy focused on social inclusion and economic development that will transform the economy with accessible, safe and affordable broadband, across gender, and geography. CSquared Woezon, our joint venture with Société d’Infrastructures Numériques [SIN] will put in place the next generation of connected infrastructure on which the digital ecosystem, the economy and the government can ride. Beyond the landing of Google’s Equiano in Togo, the JV will also manage and rollout Fiber Metros and National Backbone across the country, moving Togo forward on its quest to become a digital hub in West Africa with connectivity into neighbouring countries, Ghana, Benin and Burkina Faso.”
Equiano’s arrival in Togo will strengthen the country’s ability to construct and support digital infrastructure that will help Togo’s economy in the long run, as well as its West African neighbours.
Facebook this morning launched a new app designed to make it easier for businesses to manage in a single place their pages and profiles across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. The app, Facebook Business Suite, combines access to the business’s key updates and priorities and offers a way to draft and schedule feed posts for both Facebook and Instagram, view insights and create ads.
Nigeria’s Channels Television, The Guardian Nigeria, Legit.NG and South Africa’s Eye Witness News, and Tiso Black Star are recipients of GNI Youtube innovation funding.
In July, as part of the Google News Initiative (GNI), they announced innovation funding to help newsrooms and publishers strengthen their online video capabilities and experiment with new formats for video journalism.
The Google News Innovation is a program designed to “help quality journalism thrive in the digital age” by providing grants – cash without equity – to media organizations that are considered to have potential.
The initiative started in Europe in 2015 with a $170 million fund. This later extended to YouTube after the Google News
Hundreds of organizations submitted proposals through an open application process and today they’re sharing the 87 recipients.
Hailing from 23 countries around the world, they represent a diverse array of broadcasters, traditional and digital publishers, local media, agencies and creators, but all share a commitment to quality journalism and a spirit of innovation.
Image Credit: YouTube
Recently, the deployment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles i.e. drone has increased in different sectors in African Entrepreneurship scene. It
Drones, which were specifically made for security purposes in the military back then have now transcended their earlier function. They have gone to the extent of saving lives by transporting blood from the banks to the hospital where it’s needed and the delivery of medical tools. Its contributions in the agriculture space – farm aerial mapping, and irrigation cannot also be over-emphasised.
Meanwhile, a document obtained from South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) opined that the rate of Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) has increased to 663 as at the last count in October 2017 compared to the 216 registered drones in January 2017.
Also, the government of Niger has turned to drone technology to help protect the Addax Saharan antelopes and other endangered species in Africa’s largest terrestrial park. This is to mention but a few of the
Some key drone startups transforming Africa with their services.
1. Zipline Drone Service – Rwanda
In Rwanda, drone technology is doing its bit as it saves more lives than any other technology.
The U.S. drone start-up, Zipline partnered with the Rwandan government in 2016 to launch the world’s first commercial drone delivery service, transporting vital medical supplies like blood as well as special drugs and injections to its distance hospitals especially the ones with bad roads via air.
Having access to a service like Zipline mean a lot between life and death in the extremely mountainous Rwanda that has only 25% of its 4,700km of roads paved.
So far, the start-up has dispatched over 5,500 units of blood products like red blood cells, platelets, and plasma to 12 hospitals without going through the dangerous road network in Rwanda. With the success in Rwanda, the start-up is hoping to expand to Tanzania.
2. AeroShutter – Ghana
Founded in 2014 and based in Ghana. The commercial drone service firm provides aerial solutions in creative and industrial markets across African.
According to the company, they pioneered drone service solutions across Construction as well as Agriculture industries and ran comprehensive tests to provide top-notch UAV data and image collection, advanced image modelling, and technical analysis services.
On the other hand, some African countries have expressed reservations on the use of drones, claiming it portends security threats to their nation.
These challenges cannot be discarded but its strengths should be
3. Metternet – Malawi
Matternet worked with UNICEF in 2016 to conduct experimental HIV tests in Malawi. The drone project by the United Nations children’s fund (UNICEF) and the Malawi government was aimed at helping over 35,000 children born with HIV in 2014.
This drone technology has reduced the time for conducting the tests as against the motorbikes previously used which takes at least 2 months to send blood samples and receive results.
In June 2018, the drone start-up raised $16 million in Series A funding led by Boeing HorizonX Ventures, with participation from Swiss Post, Sony Innovation Fund and Levitate Capital.
4. Arone – Nigeria
Like Zipline in Rwanda, Arone is a start-up transforming the personalised drone delivery system in Nigeria, especially in the healthcare area.
Founded by Emmanuel Ezenwere, his start-up is solving the problem of accessibility to medical supplies.
Arone is connecting rural and urban health care centres by putting up drone delivery centers at blood banks and medical supplies distribution stations to provide a faster delivery of vital medical products to rural and urban clinics. This is possible with the use of smart aerial logistics technology empowered with artificial intelligence and renewable sources of energy.
Early this year, Arone secured $5,000.00 from three angel investors at the Roar Nigeria incubator at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
5. Investiv Group Drone – Côte d’Ivoire
Aboubacar Karim, a 23-year-old from Côte d’Ivoire, has made it his mission to put an end to agricultural losses as a result of poor crop management.
“We can’t carry on farming in the same way our grandparents did, using the same hoes and machetes that people have been using for 300 years,” says Karim, who holds a degree in agricultural economics from Canada’s Université Laval.
Karim’s field mapping company, Investiv, launched its first drone service in May 2017. The firm’s six drones – each equipped with multispectral imaging cameras and operated by internally-trained pilots – produce agricultural land-use maps to pinpoint areas of crop disease, poor soil fertility or under-hydration.
The company then analyses the data so that farmers can take personalized, for instance by fine-tuning fertilizer and disease control product dosages or using water and inputs more efficiently.
RocketMine – South Africa
RocketMine is the first in the mining industry of South Africa to get full license and certification from the country’s Aviation Authority.
It has the largest fleet in Africa and is a dominant force in the drone market in Africa.
It provides professional drone survey and mapping services to corporate customers like Anglo American, South32 and Exarro Resources on fixed-term contracts.
RocketMine is the main licensed operator of commercial drones in the mining industry of South Africa.