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Technology (222)

Registration For 40 Days 40 Fintechs Kicks-Off To Promote Financial Inclusiveness In Africa

As part of its on-going Financial Inclusion efforts, HiPipo has launched the 40 DAYS 40 FINTECHs initiative with online registration currently underway.

40 DAYS 40 FINTECHs, running from 25th May to 5th July 2020 will have 40 Africa based FinTech companies get introduced to Mojaloop OSS.

Mojaloop OSS is open-source software for financial services companies, government regulators, and others taking on the challenges of financial inclusion.

Successful FINTECHs will be guided on how to best use the software to achieve the best financial inclusion results for their bigger audiences with Women led FinTechs given special attention.

While announcing this development, Innocent Kawooya, the HiPipo CEO, noted that this initiative will help to expose local FinTechs, developer teams or emerging companies to new tools available to reach the poor and as such extend access to innovative financial services.

“FinTechs should be excited because they have a grand chance to expand their market, first through learning and developing interoperable solutions using new amazing technologies such as Mojaloop.

And secondly, because of the many discoveries and lessons they are going to make from the many astonishing and failed stories that we are going to discover and expose to the FinTech community and the world.” Mr. Kawooya said, adding;

“Additionally, thanks to this initiative, Mobile Network Operators and Banks are going to be more open to integration and collaboration and last but most importantly, one or a number of the FinTechs that will participate in the initiative, collaborate and embrace the use of Mojaloop might turn into the real heroes of our economy that will maybe create a payment switch that will simplify payments interoperability in different markets forever.” 

Follow this link to learn more about and register for the 40 DAYS 40 FINTECHs project - https://www.hipipo.org/40-days-40-fintech/

Tech For Humanity: Preparing For The Next Phase

ICT has been critical to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and transforming society over the long term. But the key to progress is laying the foundation for constant evolution, writes Chen Lei, President of Huawei Southern Africa Region.

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic at the beginning of this year, organisations across the planet began to shift into action. But as critical as it was to react appropriately, it has also been important to proactively prepare for the next phase.

At Huawei, we are aware of the massive effect of the pandemic, as well as how seriously communities would be affected. However, we are also conscious that as well as protecting lives, we need to help lay the foundation for the next stage of society’s technological advancement – the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

I’ve been inspired by a recent YouTube video of young South African dancer Hlumelo, who has been under lockdown in his home township of Gugulethu. A member of the Zama Dance School, Hlumelo has not let the lockdown hold him back, and has continued practising his steps for the moment when he and his friends can perform together again.

Similarly, during the Chinese lockdown, members of the Shanghai ballet continued to practise – wearing facemasks – for their upcoming performance of Swan Lake. They took precautions, but remained focused on the next phase of their development.

During the pandemic, once Huawei had secured our people and our operations, we looked at how we could support our business partners on the African continent through our core competences in the ICT sector. We were fortunate to be able to assist with social distancing by African organisations through our technologies.  

The video conferencing systems we provided in some African countries enabled information sharing domestically and experience exchange internationally between epidemic prevention experts in China and Africa.

Our remote videoconferencing systems have helped medical institutions communicate more efficiently. We have also implemented an AI-based diagnosis solution in several medical institutions. CT scan reviews can now be completed in two minutes, 80% faster, in a race with time, critical for saving lives.

Huawei will continue using our core information and communication capabilities to support Africa’s epidemic control efforts.

When the dust settles, and we begin to arrive at the much-heralded “new normal”, we will have seen the immense potential for ICT to build social cohesion.

A new business model is taking shape across sectors, one characterised by remote work, distance education, remote healthcare, online shopping and mobile money. These business models span transportation, security, finance, medicine, education and entertainment.

This new paradigm is driven by vastly greater data consumption, facilitated by the mass connectivity of 4G/5G technology.

Governments are coming to understand the need to prioritise ICT as a basic necessity. As a recent white paper noted, the Covid-19 pandemic is seeing 5G transform healthcare response mechanisms to become digital, accurate and smart.

The epidemic has brought home to policymakers the importance of ICT in national development. This is likely to accelerate the establishment of a national data centres, optical fibre networks and communication base stations.

This kind of "big network" deployment also presents a historic opportunity for Africa to use ICT to catch up with, and overtake other nations in terms of human development and quality of life for all its citizens.

We are seeing the first signs of digital transformation not just in healthcare systems, but across entire economies, and society itself.

ICT platforms are likely to provide the foundation of Africa’s future economy. The key is to continue honing and perfecting them, expanding their use even now, so that once the lockdown ends, we can recover more quickly.

As the old poem notes, good honing does indeed give a sharp edge to a sword. Like Hlumelo and the dancers of the Shanghai ballet, we should spend this time honing our abilities. When the new dawn arrives – as it surely will –  let it find us well prepared to seize the day!

GSMA Report: COVID-19 Pandemic Puts Digital Transformation Back On Agenda

As governments across the globe continued responding to COVID-19's devastation, the mobile sector is playing a crucial role in supporting efforts tackling the pandemic and enhancing health services response to it, according to a newly released report from GSMA

While the report found that the pandemic has upended people's lives, health and business sectors, people were using technological innovation to adapt to new ways of life during these uncertain times. "In this unprecedented situation, people are quickly adapting to innovative ways of connecting and doing business empowered by connectivity, and digital transformation is no longer just a question but an action for many industries," the report said. 

Mobile operators have played key parts in efforts to respond to the pandemic especially in ensuring smooth communication during health emergencies and improving the coverage of 4G/5G networks in China. The report mentioned that during the construction of two new hospitals in China to treat COVID-19 patients, mobile operators including China Telecom and China Mobile working with Huawei successfully deployed 4G/5G communication networks which resulted in adequate mobile coverage in the hospitals. 

The deployment of 4G/5G networks also assisted with remote consultation and telemedicine. Mobile operators were able to construct up to eight 4G/5G network sites in less than 30 hours following the construction of the hospitals. "The high-quality 4G/5G networks have ensured smooth and uninterrupted communication services in China and provided strong support for the mission-critical response efforts in China during COVID-19 pandemic." 

In African countries like Uganda, Nigeria and South Africa, information and communication technologies have been at the forefront of ensuring that social and physical distancing measures are observed. South Africa's health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize recently spoke about the importance of technological innovation in tackling the virus while receiving Huawei Cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI) diagnostic systems and four thermal scanning systems. 

This Al-empowered diagnosis tool assists medical worker to ascertain if someone has COVID - 19. The accuracy for this tool is over 98 percent with CT scan review times reduced by over 80%. 

Ghana also found ICTs as powerful weapon in the fight against COVID-19. Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia this month launched an app designed to help in tracing people who have come into contact with COVID-19 positive individuals and link them to health professionals for urgent action to be taken. 

The pandemic has changed fundamentally the way people communicate, work, shop, learn, and entertain, as life moves from offline to online. In this unprecedented situation, people are quickly adapting to innovative ways of connecting and doing business empowered by connectivity. Thus, the report says, the digital transformation is no longer just a question but an action for many industries. 

Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa has been significantly impacted by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, according to World Bank. However, as combinations of ICTs and health, education and other services has gradually become a new norm, how to facilitate more effective use of these technologies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic can actually decide how strong Africa is going to return to its growth trajectory by adopting new business models and methodologies the emerged from this outbreak.

Gender Balance Will Spur ICT Skills Development Gap – Huawei Uganda

By Liujiawei, MD, Huawei Uganda

 Since the Introduction of the World Wide Web (www) in the early 1990s, Information Communications Technology (ICT) has been dominated by men worldwide.

 Today, ICT is the backbone driving the prosperity of nations and organization, inspiring a better living for people across the globe.

 However, no development is one sided if leaves out the participation of all gender. And increased women participation in the Technology ecosystem in this decade can be inspired by Innovation driven startups and Enrollment for ICT education.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2011 marked the last Thursday of April as a day dedicated to celebrating girls in ICT worldwide. Over 9,000 celebrations attracted 300,000 women participants by 2018, and today we celebrate the Women that have broad passion for Technology and continue growing while excelling in ICT.

In Uganda, the rate of Women owning Internet enabled devices like Smartphones and Personal Computers (PCs) has risen by 40% since 2015 as per social media analytics results.

This is attributed to the dropping of prices for devices, Internet and to a greater extent access to quality digital skilling (ICT education) as well as Innovation competitions and initiatives.

As a Tech company, we attached a great importance to skilling and empowering women in ICT through our various skilling initiatives which include the Huawei Seeds for the future, the Huawei ICT competition and Huawei ICT Academy as well as offering employment. We take pride in seeing women prosper and flourish in ICT through our several initiatives.

I would like to bring to your attention a great success and inspirational story of a woman who has grown with our company in a space of one year from just an intern to a team leader and to a manager.  

Ms Cleopatra Ajambo, participated in the 2018 Huawei Seeds for the future program that involves top college students in ICT-related departments for a two weeks study trip in China. Over 3,000 students globally have taken part in this programme. It’s through the competition that Cleopatra changed her life from just a Computer Science Student to an IT networks architect working with Huawei Uganda.

“As a Computer Science Student, you were expected to dig deep into programming as a major which was not, and is not most girls’ passion, so I found myself relying more on getting good grades than building a career as a problem solver,” says Cleoptra, whose goal for joining the Seeds for future competition was to travel to China for exposure.

Amidst stiff competition, Cleopatra qualified for the national round after drafting a project proposal on how ICT can be leveraged to help people with chronic diseases remotely get access to doctors by using their smartphones.

She wrote a proposal addressing people having chronic diseases and through the use of gadgets and networks, their health would be actively monitored remotely by the doctors.

Cleopatra’s dream to visit China became a reality opening up her doors to a brighter career in the ICT Industry. On return, she was offered an Internship opportunity at Huawei Uganda to further enhance her career. Due to her growing passion for ICT, she progressed through various ranks to her current position as a Maintenance Manager in less than two years.

She joined Huawei as an intern without any network skills, but going through a number of trainings and documentation reading, she moved from being an intern of survey, to an IP engineer configuring devices such as cameras, switches, routers, firewall, to a maintenance manager where she coordinated the fiber team, networks team, and the systems team.”

In the light of the Huawei ICT academy at Makerere University that opened doors for Cleopatra to join the annual skills competition, and enrich her career path, we believe increased ICT education in Uganda has attracted Women to enhance their skills, and win positions that were previously known to be dominated by Men.

“Being in a field mostly dominated by men, what motivates is to always be outstanding. I am very competitive while at work, I am personally interested in computer networking,

Routing and switching, certified in HCIA (Huawei Associate) and currently pursing HCIP (Huawei computer internetworking professional),” Cleopatra explains her motivation.

Among the successful women in Uganda leveraging ICT to lead and solve real-life problems in previously men dominated positions include the Minister of ICT and National Guidance Ms.

Judith Nabakooba, the recently appointed UCC Executive Director Ms. Irene Sewakambo Kaggwa, among others.

As Women continue to rise in the ICT Industry, the role of ICT companies and Government support to nurture girls through quality ICT education and skill competitions respectively, will bring a fair balance in an industry that was once known to be dominated by men. Happy International Women in ICT Day.

Huawei Boosts Uganda’s Covid-19 Fight Digitally

Statehouse has received video conferencing equipment from Huawei to enhance communication in the management of the current COVID-19 outbreak. 

The equipment including 2 sets of video conferencing systems was donated by the international telecommunications giant to facilitate the effectiveness and efficiency of communication and data sharing which is critical in the pandemic containment. 

Receiving the donation, Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda said the digital facility enables the meetings between State House and government arms to take place at a time when social distancing is exercised to control the spread of COVID-19. 

“I am happy that we are given this powerful instrument to fight against COVID-19 and at the same time to efficiently and conveniently do our business,” the Prime Minister said. 

Dr. Rugunda said the equipment will be sent to State House, Entebbe and State House, Nakasero as he applauded Huawei for interconnecting many parts of Uganda with first-class communication capabilities to ease and improve communication. 

“Huawei remaining consistent, actually promoting the well-known policy of government E-government, doing business electronically,” Dr. Rugunda added. 

This is the second time for Huawei to assist the government’s efforts in combatting COVID-19 with a digital instrument. The ICT firm recently donated telemedicine equipment to the ministry of health to enable smooth communication between the Ministry of Health headquarters and frontline health workers in hospitals. 

In his tweet, President Yoweri Museveni said, these facilities will allow the medical staff to conduct “real-time& interactive communication, including on their phones and computers, without much risk of physical contact.”

 

How New Proposed US Restrictions On Chip-Making Equipment Will Affect Africa

Some senior officials in the Trump administration have agreed to new measures to restrict the global supply of chips to Huawei Technologies, at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic impacts economic growth around the world. 

Under the proposed rule change, foreign companies that use U.S. chip making equipment would be required to obtain a U.S. license before supplying certain chips to Huawei. 

Analysts say the proposed change of trade rules will backfire on U.S. companies as the later will develop their own supply chain. A report by the Boston Consulting Group states further escalation in U.S. export control to Huawei will result in and end the leadership of U.S. in semiconductor and will consequently decouple the US and Chinese technology industries. 

Driving Force of Development

The semiconductor industry is widely recognized as a key driver and technology enabler for the whole electronics value chain. With expanding tech industry and deepening innovation culture, Africa has proved its potential to be a competitive force in technology in the future. How this unilaterally proposed change of rules by U.S. would hurt Africa’s fast growing technology industry? 

In 2019, the global market for semiconductors was projected to shrink by 12% due to growing economic uncertainties from the U.S.-China trade war. This year’s COVID-19 pandemic is further shaking up the global semiconductor industry. A new IDC report says the semiconductor industry will fall by 6%. 

The proposed move by some U.S. officials will create more uncertainties in the global industry of semiconductor, the centerpiece of ICTs that transform society for the better.

These technologies which enable new technologies like artificial intelligence, 5G and the Internet of Things, have been playing a critical role in Africa’s social economic development. When the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, ICTs and digital economy will also play a crucial role in economic recovery. 

Not Allowed to Cook in your own Kitchen with an American pan

If we look closely at the proposed change of rules, we can see that it aims for imposing restrictions on the use of equipment that has already been sold. This will severely undermine the basic principles of international trade. The post-sale rules change will ultimately erode trust in the global supply chain, nullifying established norms and regulations overnight. Needless to say, Africa will also be the victim. 

The global semiconductor value chain has taken decades to build. Semiconductor modules are highly interdependent, and no company or country can build up a comprehensive supply chain on their own. 

If these new rules were to take effect, even if merely one piece of US-origin equipment, say a screwdriver purchased from the US years ago, was used at any step in the production of chips, chipmakers outside of the US would have to seek approval from the US government. 

By way of example, this is equivalent to say one could not be allowed to make face mask during the coronavirus pandemic, because a pair of American scissors are used in the mask production line. This situation will further deteriorate the already hard-hit global economy, when we are in urgent need of an open, collaborative, and stable global value chain. 

Africa’s Share in Semiconductor

According to a report by Deloitte, the global semiconductor industry is set to continue its robust growth well into the next decade due to emerging technologies such as autonomous driving, artificial intelligence (AI), 5G and Internet of Things, coupled with consistent spending on R&D and competition among key players. 

The global semiconductor sector market offers Africa opportunities not to be missed. With a massive growth in technology hubs across the continent-growing over 50% in the last several years, Africa needs to have a share in global semiconductors industry, to secure its competiveness in the future.

 

How 5G Can Help The Fight Against Coronavirus – Deloitte

5G can enhance the effectiveness of pandemic prevention and treatment, and drive the digital transformation of healthcare systems in response to major public emergencies, such as the current pandemic of COVID-19, a newly released Deloitte report suggests.

The white paper titled, “Combating COVID-19 with 5G: Opportunities to improve public health systems,” was produced in collaboration with Huawei. During the outbreak in China, telecommunications operators collaborated with Huawei to rapidly set up a specific 5G network dedicated to COVID-19 treatment hospitals.

The white paper analyses examples of COVID-19 control and treatment measures in China and identified challenges that face epidemic management in terms of monitoring, quarantine and treatment.

Amongst its findings, the whitepaper notes that the effectiveness of communication and data exchange has been essential in screening for infected individuals and controlling the outbreak. This by enabling thermal imaging, continuous remote monitoring and diagnoses during patient transfer.

The research also highlighted the need to build and upgrade public health emergency response mechanisms, through which governments are able to make right decisions promptly and allocate resources more effectively.

In this regard, 5G can also promote collaboration by enabling connectivity, maintaining effective communication among hospitals, and enable medical data and reference sharing between hospitals and scientific research institutions, especially “in the rapid increases in data volume and mounting demand for remote and HD-video based treatment” scenario.

In addition, the report indicates that the success of 5G applications in the public health domain could also inspire new business models in other sectors.

It finds as a result of 5G features such as high speed connection, high reliability and low latency, the healthcare system has benefited from improved response times, patient monitoring, data collection and analytics, remote collaboration and resource allocation. It also sets an example for digitalised, data driven and Cloud-based innovative major public emergency response platforms.

China's ZTE Facing Bribery Investigation Despite Pleading Guilty 3years Ago.

Authorities in the US are investigating Chinese telecom firm ZTE over bribery allegations, media reports quoting sources reveal.

The new investigations by US's Justice Department 'centers on possible bribes ZTE paid to foreign officials to gain advantages in its worldwide operations.'

Three years ago, ZTE 'pleaded guilty to violating U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea.'

According to NBC News, the fresh scrutiny on ZTE comes just after the end of the corporate probation period agreed to under the March 2017 plea agreement it struck with the Justice Department. "Under the agreement, ZTE agreed to a civil and criminal penalty and forfeiture of $1.19 billion,"

While ZTE's headquarters are in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China, it runs a subsidiary in Richardson, Texas where it relies on U.S.-made materials for smartphones and computer networking gear.

Under the 2017 agreement with the Justice Department, ZTE agreed to implement and maintain a compliance and ethics program to detect violations of sanctions and export controls.

Implementing the programs did not give ZTE immunity for any past crimes the company had not disclosed to the U.S. government when the plea agreement was signed, the documents show.

ZTE's code of conduct bars employees from paying or accepting bribes in China or abroad, documents show. But news reports, documents and at least one lawsuit filed in recent years have accused ZTE of corruption in more than a dozen countries, including Algeria, Liberia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

In Kenya, for example, a document published by WikiLeaks in 2010 raises questions about how ZTE won a 2009 contract to install landline telephone monitoring equipment for the country's National Intelligence Service.

What appears to be a report from then-U.S. Ambassador Michael Ranneberger to the State Department states that ZTE received the contract after paying kickbacks to high-level officials of the National Intelligence Service (then known as the National Security Intelligence Service), including one who received $5,000 a month, which he used to pay medical bills.

In a statement, a representative of ZTE said ZTE is fully committed to meeting its legal and compliance obligations. "The top priority of the company's leadership team is making ZTE a trusted and reliable business partner in the global marketplace, and the company is proud of the enormous progress it has made. Beyond this, it would not be appropriate for ZTE to comment."

Huawei Applauded For Digital Innovation And Local Contribution

The Speaker of Parliament of Uganda Hon. Rebecca Kadaga,recently applauded Huawei for their efforts in improving ICT and Innovation in Uganda.  

The speaker who was the chief guest made these remarks at a donation ceremony that happened at Kamuli where Huawei handed over assorted equipment.

The donation was handed to Hon. Rebecca Kadaga by Mr. Liujiawei, Huawei Uganda’s Managing Director, in the presence of the LC1, LC5, and the area member of parliament among other leaders.

“On behalf of the government of Uganda, I continue to commend you Huawei for your great contribution to I.C.T and Innovation of this nation. We have indeed proved you as an industry leader because of your efficiency and timely implementation of the various projects and as a government we have a special relationship with you (Huawei).  We thank you for your corporate social responsibility initiative that you have exhibited today,” said Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, The Speaker of Parliament of Uganda

“I commend you for the Huawei ICT Academy that skills Ugandans and your intentions to take this program in Busoga University, I encourage you to keep going. I believe that this initiative is not only going to equip I.C.T skills but also create employment, innovation and general economic development,” she added.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Liujiawei, Huawei’s Managing Director expressed his deepest pleasure for the opportunity to give back to the people of Busoga.

“We hope to bring Uganda not only these specific materials, but also, more importantly, the development opportunities for the every Ugandan; Digital skills that bring capabilities and seize opportunities; the connectivity and a better life for the future,”Mr Liu Jiawei said

Huawei Set to Develop 2m ICT Professionals Over The Next Five Years

At the Industrial Digital Transformation Conference-Live, Huawei officially released the Huawei ICT Academy Program 2.0. Through this program, Huawei aims to develop 2 million ICT professionals and popularize digital skills over the next five years by collaborating with universities.

This is part of Huawei's digital inclusion initiative, TECH4ALL, which is intended to expand the benefits of digital technology to everyone, everywhere. Huawei will set up the Huawei ICT Academy Development Incentive Fund (ADIF), with a total investment of at least US$50 million over the next five years.

2013 saw the establishment of the Huawei ICT Academy program, under which Huawei has provided quality courses and support services to universities/colleges to help them train teachers, establish and optimize ICT majors, improve the curriculum system, and build standard labs.

Huawei ICT Academy also introduces Huawei's ICT technologies and products to students in universities around the world, encourages them to participate in Huawei certification, and develops innovative and application-oriented technical talent for society and the global ICT industry. Since 2015, Huawei has partnered with more than 600 international universities to set up Huawei ICT academies, helping the universities improve their ICT teaching abilities and train more than 1500 teachers.

To meet new requirements and challenges, the Huawei ICT Academy Program will enter the 2.0 phase in 2020. According to its five-year plan, Huawei will develop 2 million ICT professionals and continuously update its school-enterprise cooperation solutions in cutting-edge technologies, such as 5G and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

To achieve this goal, Huawei will set up the Huawei ICT Academy Development Incentive Fund (ADIF), with a total investment of at least US$50 million over the next five years. This fund aims to help ICT academies operate stably by the following four actions:

      Providing teaching experiment equipment for cooperative universities to improve students' practical skills.

      Training teachers through ADIF, providing free exam vouchers to encourage students to take Huawei's certification exams, and setting up an education fund to reward excellent teachers and students.

      Holding the Huawei ICT Competition to provide a platform for students to communicate with their peers and show their talents.

      Cooperating with partners on ICT Talent Job Fairs to help students find jobs and promote efficient matching between talent supply and demand.

Hank Stokbroekx, Vice President of Enterprise Service, Huawei Enterprise BG, said that, Huawei will continue to establish more ICT Academies. Every year, we will build 600-1000 Huawei ICT Academies. By doing so, we aim to benefit more university teachers and students in the digital world, enable more people to enjoy equal and high-quality education, enhance digital skills, and inject fresh impetus into the industry.

The launch of Huawei ICT Academy Program 2.0 marks a new stage of Huawei's talent ecosystem development. In the future, Huawei will deepen cooperation with all parties in the ecosystem, increase investment, and accelerate the construction of an all-round, full-cycle sustainable talent ecosystem to fuel the digital transformation of industries.

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