Innovation Africa Digital Summit 2015

The month of April was a busy one in the Zimbabwean telecommunications world.

If it wasn’t TelOne making strides in internet access options, it was all the talk surrounding the Innovation Africa Digital Summit 2015.

The summit, now in its 13th year, took place from 14 to 16 April and saw delegates from 50 countries meeting in Victoria Falls to discuss access-related issues in and around Africa.

The discussions were centered around finding ways that make access not only affordable but socio-economically beneficial in the long run as well.

Affordable access is not just a matter of connecting people at the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’ with the cheapest devices and lowest price/quality connectivity.

This year’s host government, The Ministry of ICT in Zimbabwe, provided a platform for local ICT’s to be showcased.

As was the case with previous hosts Gambia and Ethopia, I hope that the exposure from the summit will provide opportunities for long-term investment and support for infrastructure development and economic sustainability in Zimbabwe.

Some of these things are already coming to the fore, as TelOne’s recent new product range demonstrates.

Presentations on cloud-computing, rural telephony and its impact in the African technological space, fibre broadband options, LTE and infrastructure outsourcing policies were all on the agenda.

You can get a full list of the programmes that were held here.

It seems as though cost is still a major contributing factor to delays in ICT development on the continent with connectivity costs still relatively expensive compared to our international counterparts.

“Capital investments should consider the huge energy requirements of the ICT sector and explore alternative energy solutions.”

– Lynne Gallagher, CEO, Telecom/Telematique.

Conference chair and research Director at YourStory Media, Madanmohan Rao noted that in addition to this, Western countries, China and India are more active in Africa’s hardware, software and networking industries than Africa itself.

As the African ICT sector is expected to triple in growth by 2025, it may be wise for us to start finding ways to produce said infrastructure and technology in our own back yards.

Since we have them, we could perhaps look to our metal industries and growing telecommunications companies to assist in this.

That way, we could monopolise the industry by using homeground/local products and we will have a better hand at job creation and ICT developments without the need for too much foreign input.

Read about the other discussions that took place at the summit here.

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