[Africa Tech Review] Duncan Mochama: African governments are accelerating 5G adoption
23-09-2021 11:58:23 | by: Nixon Kanali | hits: 1326 | Tags:

In July this year, Ericsson  projected that 5G mobile subscriptions will exceed 580 million by the end of 2021, driven by an estimated one million new 5G mobile subscriptions everyday. The report featured breakout statistics from Sub-Saharan African markets where around 15 percent of mobile subscriptions were for 4G at the end of 2020. The report predicted that mobile broadband subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa will increase, reaching 76 percent of mobile subscriptions by 2026. However, 5G volumes are not expected to grow in the region for 2021 but are likely to reach around 70 million 5G subscriptions in 2026.  

This week, the Federal Government approved the deployment of the Fifth Generation Network, 5G, in Nigeria. In South Africa, MTN this week became the first mobile operator in Africa to provide access to 5G technology to customers from the Philippines through its international roaming agreement with Smart Communications, Inc.

African startups were also in the news this week. Sotech, an Egyptian e-health startup that specializes in smart IoT, trackable OOH advertising, and data gathering raised US$1 million in pre-seed funding round to scale its operations into the rest of the MENA region. African fintech platform Finclusion Group  secured $20 million in a funding round with fintech debt financing provider, Lendable. The partnership will help Finclusion widen its reach in East and South African markets. Delivery platform Glovo announced the expansion of its operations in Africa, to include Ghana and Tunisia, bringing its current operations to a total of seven countries on the continent. In Kenya, insurance startup Lami Technologies and Sendy  announced a new per-trip insurance policy for transporters in Kenya. After launching in South Africa in March this year, Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing this week also launched its operations in Egypt.

Still on startups, Shell-funded impact investment company All On announced a $2 million investment in fintech company, Infibranches Technologies, to help bridge the energy distribution gap in underserved rural and peri-urban areas of Nigeria.

Absa Bank Kenya partnered with Pan African impact investment platform - Melanin Kapital – to launch an investor readiness program that places startups driving social impact on the path to accessing up to KES3 million in unsecured lending.

On matters fintech, leading regulatory technology developer and Big Data Analytics firm Global Voice Group (GVG) this week launched a new payment interoperability solution for governments and central banks. Mastercard - through the Center for Inclusive Growth, launched Strive, a global initiative focused on strengthening the financial resilience of small businesses and supporting their recovery and growth.  The company also announced the launch of its new Sustainability Innovation Lab, which will spearhead the further development of the company’s portfolio of environmentally conscious digital products and solutions.

Vodafone Group and ITU, the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies, this week also launched a new initiative to connect 3.4BN people with smartphones by 2030. Africa Data Centres, the pan-African network of interconnected, carrier-and cloud-neutral data centres, completed its new Johannesburg data centre, based in its Midrand Campus which is one of the largest in Africa. Earlier this month, the firm announced plans to build large hyperscale data centres throughout Africa, including the North African countries of Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. 

Other top highlights of the week include TECNO Mobile establishing an official security response center (SRC), Safaricom being announced as a the UN Global Compact LEAD, Africa’s leading e-commerce platform, Jumia launching its 2021 Brand Festival Campaign and CDC Group and impact investor  announcing commitments totalling $50.9 million to expand digital infrastructure, boost rural connectivity and accelerate digital technology access in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Duncan Mochama is the solutions consultant at  Incentro Africa.