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Leaders of Africa’s digital infrastructure investment in a discuss

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Leaders from MTN, C-Squared, Seacom and Convergence Partners discuss the critical issues ahead of their speaking roles at TMT Finance Africa in Cape Town 2019

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, March 7, 2019 — Digital and broadband infrastructure investment is clearly one of the top priorities for Africa’s key telecom operators and investment firms in 2019. In this article, leaders from MTN, C-Squared, Seacom and Convergence Partners discuss the critical issues ahead of their speaking roles at TMT Finance Africa in Cape Town 2019 http://www.TMTFinance.com/capetown

With the huge and increasing demand for data and increasing opportunities for 5G and fibre, digital communications companies including mobile and fixed operators, as well as a range of digital infrastructure specialists and investors, are targeting significant investments in new digital infrastructure.

Byron Clatterbuck, CEO Seacom, one of Africa’s leading submarine and terrestrial broadband operators, sees a really opportunity in making the case for fibre in Africa: “Fibre penetration is still very low in most African countries, so huge opportunities exist to get involved in the rollout of intra-regional projects, national projects, and even international subsea infrastructure projects.  The global cloud services companies are now putting Africa on their development roadmap, and committing significant investment to several African markets.”

For Clatterbuck, this presents a big opportunity for other investors to leverage these investments and to cooperate with these global giants in delivering new services to the business and home markets.

Envir Fraser, CSO & Partner at Convergence Partners, an impact investment management firm focused on the telecommunications, media and technology sector in Africa, expects broadband to continue offering investment opportunities as the need for high quality broadband increases with step changes in prices. “This does mean that the opportunities are shifting from pure greenfield builds and opportunities to brownfield expansion and consolidation in the sector. The needs for “big pipes” to realise the 5G reality will also need increased investment in connecting towers and high sites to high-speed fibre or wireless backhaul networks”, says Fraser.

Working with governments on digital infrastructure investment

To help maintain a high level of investment, Kholekile, Ndamase, Executive: Group Mergers and Acquisitions at MTN, Africa’s biggest mobile telecommunications operator, warns Governments should have a careful plan when considering the licensing questions such as coverage obligations vs license fees vs a fund to finance rural connectivity.

“If government could forego the immediate remuneration of a license fee and opportunity costs of localisations, but instead placed reasonable coverage obligations on operators, it may be more beneficial in the long run to have all their citizens connected to digital and have them participating in the digitally-enabled economy. Making more spectrum available in certain markets would also reduce network congestion and Capex expenditure which will allow the much-needed capital to be spent in the more underserved areas”, Ndamase explains.

Expect consolidation in digital and fibre infrastructure 

Consolidation in the sector is also to be expected, according to Alexander Kiel, CFO, at CSquared, the Google-backed African fibre network operator. “Fibre, like other infrastructure, is a game of scale, we do expect some consolidation to happen over time, with it most likely to start with transfer of management of public fiber assets to private operators.” Over time, as fibrecos increase in scale and expertise, Kiel also expects to see more sale and lease-back deals between the fibrecos and the mobile operators.

For Seacom’s Clatterbuck, “whether it is MNOs trying to bring together a number of African “OpCos” under one brand with synergies at the group level, or it is “fixed” fibre operators consolidating to control and manage as much of the end-to-end network as possible, there is no shortage of M&A and funding opportunities in Africa.  “Consolidation will continue as markets grow and possibly shrink, and as global players look for market entry vehicles going forward,” he says.

Who will be leading fibre investment?

In the next 12 to 18 months, CSquared’s Kiel expects a number of greenfield projects to come out, with multiple roll-outs, “especially in the metro areas where there is still a gap… these deployments will be driven by mobile operators and independent fibrecos”, he comments.

In about five years time, Convergence’s Fraser foresees a market with a limited number of scale players offering a broader set of offerings to operators. He expects “a shift to customer focused services and product offerings as well as continued increase in bandwidth speeds.”

As for MTN’s Ndamase, “fibre and 5G will open up a whole new experience for consumers with particular benefits will not necessarily be seen with the way we currently experience the digital world.” He reckons industries such as Autonomous Vehicles, Automation of business processes, VR & AR and a whole host of other industries that are yet to appear will primarily benefit from this shift.

Leaders from the largest African telecom, media and technology companies, investment banks and investors are meeting to assess the latest investment opportunities at the annual TMT Finance Africa in Cape Town 2019 conference on March 28.

Over 75 key speakers have been announced for the event, which features CxOs and senior executives from Vodacom, MTN, Rand Merchant Bank, Vumatel, Helios Towers Africa, ENSafrica, CSquared, Dark Fibre Africa, Convergence Partners, Seacom, Angola Cables, Standard Bank, IFC World Bank, DLA Piper, WIOCC, Paix Data Centres, BCX, European Investment Bank, Investec Asset Management, GreenWish Partners and others.

Key sessions at the senior executive only event include: Telecom Leadership Africa; Broadband Infrastructure; Digital Infrastructure Africa; Next Generation Media; Powering Mobile Towers; Data Centre and Cloud; Mergers and Acquisitions; TMT Investor Strategies; Broadband Infrastructure; Financing TMT; Fintech and Mobile Money; and Smart City.

– TMT Finance

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CRITAC: A Must Know Scientific Research Center In Africa Founded By This Young African Ghanaian Scientist, Dr. Kester Quist Aphetsi

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The Center for Research, Information, Technology and Advanced Computing (CRITAC) founded by the Young African Ghanaian Scientist, Dr. Kester Quist Aphetsi. RANK 1st as Clarivate Analytics Ghana for its good scientific research.

Over the years, CRITAC has been providing webinars, workshops, seminars and tech-news. We feature distinguished speakers from professional bodies, academia and industry on our programs.

Their research laboratories are led by top research scientists, industrial experts and research students with research laboratories in different domains necessary for the execution of the projects we undertake.

Reports and works from CRITACare published on reputable publishers such as ACM, IEEE, Springer, Elsevier, Taylors and Francis, Emerald etc with indexing at Thompson Reuters and Scopus. Access our current research works and reports

Engaging CRITAC means engaging some of the best minds with the expertise of providing timely solutions to problems leveraging on innovation and ingenuity in delivering results

Also Read TeamApt Secures Switching License From CBN To Power Payment Infrastructure Solution, AptPay

Our Research and Development programs are revolutionary breakthroughs in areas such as cyber security, big data, artificial intelligence, embedded systems, networked systems and software, and the application of such technologies to diverse fields in business, science, engineering, education, government, etc. All you need to Know.

Amongst the countless Scientific Research Conference organised by CRITAC is the recent ended 2019 ICSIoT Conference at the Ghana Technology University that gathers students, professionals, Researchers, Scientists, Security Organisations, Military Personnel’s, Police and the likes.

http://critacghana.com/critac/

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Egypt hosts ‘Seamless North Africa 2019’ to discuss latest trends in Financial Technology

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CAIRO – June 2019: For the second consecutive year, Central Bank of Egypt will host on the 17th and 18th June 2019, the FinTech Conference “Seamless North Africa 2019”, under the auspices of H.E the Prime Minister, Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, and with the participation of the most renowned international and local experts in the field of financial technology, e-payments and e-commerce.

The conference is held in collaboration with the Council of Arab Economic Unity and the League of Arab States, and is co-organized by the Egyptian Banking Institute (EBI).

Partakers will represent influencing and well recognized entities, institutions, banks and international companies, that cover multiple sectors of banking, finance and e-commerce, aiming to discuss and evaluate the role played by new technologies and strategies to cater for improved services to citizens and consumers across the Arab world.

Ms. Lobna Helal, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt, affirmed that “hosting the conference for the second year in a row reflects the tremendous success achieved by SEAMLESS 2018 in its first edition, emphasizing that “The Central Bank of Egypt’s hosting of the Conference stems from the premise of its pioneering role to communicate with society and address the challenges facing the expansion of innovative financial products and services. The role played by the Central Bank is no longer limited to the regulatory and organizational aspects, but has extended to support and incentivize the society to be less cash dependent and to sustain the transition towards financial inclusion, Under the umbrella of the National Payments Council, which is privileged with the chairmanship of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. ”

Eng. Ayman Hussein, Sub-Governor of the Central Bank for the Payment Systems and Information Technology Sector, has stated that “The conference has attained escalating importance derived from the leading role played by FinTech in providing, efficient, effective and affordable financial and banking services to meet the diverse timely and logistical needs of customers, thus creating an enabling environment and improving accessibility to the general public, appointing financial technology as a key pillar of financial inclusion and a fundamental supporter of economic growth, accordingly, achieving benefits on the individual and state levels”.

The conference will discuss the challenges that face Egypt’s emerging FinTech eco-system, in the areas of microfinance, microcredit, cross-border payments, remittances, data analysis, artificial intelligence for retail banking, cybersecurity and the SME credit score.

He also mentioned that the conference supports innovation in FinTech, whereas it will feature a pitch off competition for Fintech startups, whereas candidates will compete for a grant of USD 50,000 in cash awarded by an international sponsoring company. Competitors will present their new business model or innovative Fintech solution in front of a panel, composed of leading Egyptian and international experts.

Dr. Rasha Negm, General manager Fintech & innovation has added that “The conference will incorporate several panel discussions, interviews, presentations and workshops revolving around the latest trends and innovations in financial technology. An exhibition of more than 50 leading technology and innovative solution providers will be held on the sidelines of the conference, which avails an opportunity to learn about the latest innovations in the Fintech field”.

– EGYPT TODAY

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IBM expands its Quantum Computing Program to Africa with Wits University

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DURBAN – IBM has launched the expansion of its quantum computing efforts to Africa in a new collaboration with the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University) in South Africa.

Wits University is the first African partner on the IBM Q Network and will be the gateway for academics across South Africa and to the 15 universities who are part of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA).

“This is the latest outcome of the joint partnership between IBM Research and Wits, which started in 2016 when IBM opened its second lab in Africa in Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Johannesburg. To expand the IBM Q Network to include Wits will drive innovation in frontier-technologies and benefit African-based researchers, academics and students who now have access to decades of quantum computing capabilities at the click of a button,” said Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, Wits Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Postgraduate Affairs.

Quantum computing promises to be able to solve certain problems – such as chemical simulations and types of optimization – that will forever be beyond the practical reach of classical machines. IBM first made quantum computers available to the public in May 2016 through its IBM Q Experience quantum cloud service and has doubled the power of its quantum computers annually since 2017.

IBM established the IBM Q Network™, a community of Fortune 500 companies, startups, academic institutions and research labs working with IBM to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications for business and science.

Researchers at Wits will investigate the use of quantum computing and machine learning in the fields of cosmology and molecular biology with a specific focus on HIV drug discovery. The teams will also jointly study quantum teleportation, a field pioneered by IBM Fellow Charles Bennett.

“For Africa to remain competitive for the coming decades we must get the next generation of students quantum ready,” said Dr. Solomon Assefa, Vice President, Emerging Market Solutions and Director, IBM Research – Africa.

As part of the partnership between IBM and Wits, scholars from sixteen ARUA universities will have the opportunity to apply for access to IBM Q’s most-advanced quantum computing systems and software for teaching quantum information science and exploring early applications.

To gain access to the IBM Q quantum cloud service, ARUA scholars will be required to submit quality research proposals to a scientific committee of Wits and IBM experts for approval.

“Having access to IBM Q is pivotal for Wits University’s cross-disciplinary research program and allows our researchers in quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and in the broad natural sciences, including in laser technology, quantum optics and molecular design, to leverage the next level of discovery research. It’s envisioned that the first results from this collaboration will be forthcoming in the next two years,” said Vilakazi.

IBM’s recently unveiled IBM Q System One, is the world’s first integrated universal approximate quantum computing system designed for scientific and commercial use.

Also Read TeamApt Secures Switching License From CBN To Power Payment Infrastructure Solution, AptPay

IBM’s most advanced universal quantum computing systems available through the IBM Q Experience platform. More than 10 million experiments have run on the IBM Q Experience and users have published over 160 third-party research papers. Also, developers can work with  Qiskit, a full-stack, open-source quantum software development kit, to create and run quantum computing programs.

To further increase skills development, IBM Q is hosting an invite-only Qiskit Camp in South Africa this December for 200 quantum researchers and computer scientists where they will learn in an immersive environment and receive hands-on training.

The agreement with Wits was signed in April 2019.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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