Sep 20, 2020

Facebook announced it will be opening an office in Lagos, Nigeria - its second office on the African continent.

Aimed at supporting the entire Sub-Saharan Africa region, the office is expected to become operational in H2 2021 and will be the first on the continent to house a team of expert engineers building for the future of Africa and beyond.

Facebook’s office will be home to various teams servicing the continent from across the business, including Sales, Partnerships, Policy, Communications as well as Engineers.

Commenting, Ime Archibong, Facebook's Head of New Product Experimentation said: “The opening of our new office in Lagos, Nigeria presents new and exciting opportunities in digital innovations to be developed from the continent and taken to the rest of the world. All across Africa we’re seeing immense talent in the tech ecosystem, and I’m proud that with the upcoming opening of our new office, we’ll be building products for the future of Africa, and the rest of the world, with Africans at the helm. We look forward to contributing further to the African tech ecosystem.”

The investment of the new Facebook office follows the 2018 opening of NG_Hub, its first flagship community hub space in Africa in partnership with CcHub, and the 2019 opening of a Small Business Group (SBG) Operations Centre in Lagos, in partnership with Teleperformance. Providing outsourced support to all English-speaking advertisers across Sub-Saharan Africa, the SBG office supports Small Medium Businesses (SMBs) through its Advocacy, Community & Education (ACE) programme, as well as its Marketing Expert sales programmes – all aimed at enabling SMBs to accelerate the growth and development of their businesses.

“Our new office in Nigeria presents an important milestone which further reinforces our ongoing commitment to the region”, commented Kojo Boakye, Facebook’s Director of Public Policy, Africa. “Our mission in Africa is no different to elsewhere in the world - to build community and bring the world closer together, and I’m excited about the possibilities that this will create, not just in Nigeria, but across Africa.”

Since the opening of its first office in 2015, Facebook has made a number of investments across the continent, aimed at supporting and growing the tech ecosystem, expanding and providing reliable connectivity infrastructures and helping businesses to grow locally, regionally and globally. This includes the recent rollout of its SMB Grants programme in Nigeria and South Africa, aimed at supporting over 900 businesses by providing a combination of cash and ad credits to help small businesses as they rebuild from COVID. The development of 2Africa, the world’s largest subsea cable project that will deliver much needed internet capacity and reliability across large parts of Africa, as well as its ongoing training programmes across the continent which support various communities including students, SMBs, digital creatives, female entrepreneurs, start-up’s and developers. 

Nunu Ntshingila, Regional Director, Facebook Africa,said: “We’re delighted to be announcing our new office in Nigeria. Five years on from opening our first office on the continent in Johannesburg, South Africa, we’re continuing to invest in and support local talent, as well as the various communities that use our platforms. The office in Lagos will also be key in helping to expand how we service our clients across the continent.”

Recent media reports claim that a covert Kenyan paramilitary team is responsible for the unconstitutional killing of terror suspects in nighttime raids. The reports are based on interviews with US and Kenyan diplomatic and intelligence officials.

The team was trained, armed and supported by US and British intelligence officers.

It has been reported that since 2004, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) programme has been operational in Kenya without public scrutiny. For its part, the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) has played a key role in identifying, tracking and fixing the location of targets.

This has drawn renewed attention to the reality of widespread foreign security operations in Africa.

Several African governments are hosting foreign military bases. This is despite the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council’s ongoing concerns about the proliferation of foreign military bases on the continent. The AU is also concerned about its inability to monitor the movement of weapons to and from these military bases. Regardless, a host of bilateral agreements between AU member states and foreign powers underlie the spread of foreign military forces across the continent.

At least 13 foreign powers have a substantial military presence on the continent. The US and France are at the forefront of conducting operations on African soil.

Moreover, private military groups are active in several conflict zones on African soil. Northern Mozambique is the most recent case.

These dynamics coincide with claims that Russian MiG-29 and Su-24 warplanes have now conducted missions in Libya in support of Kremlin-backed private military forces to extend Moscow’s influence in Africa.

Military base mapping

Currently, the US has 7,000 military personnel on rotational deployment in Africa. These troops carry out joint operations with African forces against extremists or jihadists. They are hosted in military outposts across the continent, including Uganda, South Sudan, Senegal, Niger, Gabon, Cameroon, Burkina Faso and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In addition, 2,000 American soldiers are involved in training missions in 40 African countries. American special forces operate across east Africa in so-called forward operation locations in Kenya and Somalia.

Like the US, France has either deployed military forces or established bases in a number of African countries. The country has more than 7,500 military personnel currently serving on the continent. Its largest presence is in the Sahel, especially in the border zone linking Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.

The presence of foreign military forces in Africa is not limited to Western powers. China has been particularly active with its military presence in the Horn of Africa. It has become more engaged since 2008 when it participated in the multinational anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden.

Since then China has maintained an anti-piracy naval presence in the Horn of Africa and Gulf of Aden. Between 2008 and 2018, the Chinese Navy deployed 26,000 military personnel in a variety of maritime security operations.

In 2017, China inaugurated its first overseas military base in Djibouti. This came after the US established Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti in 2003.

Lemonnier was established alongside French, Italian, Spanish, German and Japanese bases. China has developed a 36-hectare military facility to host several thousand Chinese troops and provide facilities for ships, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

China’s military base in Djibouti was set up to support five mission areas. These are counter-piracy in the Gulf of Aden; intelligence collection on other countries; noncombat evacuation of Chinese citizens in East Africa; international peacekeeping operations where Chinese soldiers are deployed; and counter-terrorism operations.

India is another Asian nation that has increased its naval presence in Africa. The country has established a network of military facilities across the Indian Ocean to counter China’s rising military footprint in the region.

It also wants to protect its commercial sea lanes from piracy.

India has ongoing deployments that monitor developments in the Horn of Africa and Madagascar. The country also plans to establish 32 coastal radar surveillance stations with sites in the Seychelles, Mauritius, and other locations outside Africa.

When it comes to the Middle East, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are the two countries with a notable military presence in Africa.

Turkey joined the international counter-piracy task force off the Somali coast in 2009. In 2017, it opened a military base in Mogadishu, Somalia. The purpose is to train recruits for the Somali National Army. Turkey will also support the Somali navy and coastguard.

The UAE has had a military base in Eritrea since 2015. It comprises a military airfield with aircraft shelters and a deepwater naval port. The base has been used in operations against opposition forces in Yemen.

Foreign military motivations

It is clear that the Horn is the epicentre of foreign military activity in Africa. Foreign troops have been deployed there to counter threats to international peace, subdue terror groups and pirates, and support foreign security initiatives.

But there are other motivations to establish military bases in Africa. These include protection of commercial interests, aligning with friendly regimes, and expressing dominance on a continent that is the focus of rising global competition.

Of course, Africa is not the exception. The US, for example, also maintains a substantial military and security presence in the Gulf region. It has bases in countries such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and UAE.

For some observers it might seem like foreign governments are imposing their militaries on Africa, but, in fact, many African governments are keen to host them.

Bilateral agreements with major powers generate income for African states. The opening of China’s military base in Djibouti is a case in point. Most of Djibouti’s economy relies on Chinese credit.

The presence of foreign military forces has also played a significant role in fighting terror groups. These include groups like al-Shabaab in East Africa and jihadists in Mali. This explains why several African countries are willing to turn to foreign governments for advice, intelligence and support.

But there is a downside to the presence of foreign forces on the continent. For instance, the African security landscape has become overcrowded by a multiplicity of foreign security and military activities. These activities often function at cross purposes.

The competition among some of the world’s powers has been heightened by the increasing presence of Asian powers. China’s expanding presence in Djibouti has caused concern.

Its influence in Africa and the Indian Ocean has ruffled feathers within Japanese and Indian political and security circles. A Chinese monopoly could impede their engagement with the continent.

Finally, African countries are not agreed on how to regulate foreign security and military activities. The approach so far has been disjointed.

Though Africa’s peacekeeping capacity has increased significantly, the AU is still highly dependent on external funding and resources for its peacekeeping operations. It does not have the freedom to take independent strategic, operational and even tactical decisions in its operations.

As long as these shortcomings exist in Africa’s response to armed conflict, foreign militaries and intelligence services will continue to operate on the continent.

These are matters that have to be addressed before African states can heed the AU Peace and Security Council’s concerns about extensive foreign military involvement on the continent.The Conversation

 

Theo Neethling, Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Studies and Governance, University of the Free State

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Sep 18, 2020

The Mozambican civil aviation authorities say only airlines from six countries have agreed to resume operations since the reopening of the country’s airspace this month.

The National Civil Aviation Institute said the airlines were from Portugal, Turkey, Qatar, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa.

The institute said countries planning to restart their flights should express interest in the Mozambican diplomatic missions of their respective countries.

The resumption of regular passenger and cargo flights is authorised based on the principal of reciprocity and only two weekly flights are allowed.

International passengers must have proof that they tested negative for Covid-19 in the last 72 hours, according to guidance by the institute issued this week.

The airlines are required to ensure preventive measures are observed including the wearing of masks, social distancing of at least 1.5 metres, and the planes must carry universal precautionary kits.

The airline crew should also undergo state-supervised mandatory quarantine for up to 24 hours.

The planes, passengers and cargo must be disinfected before disembarking, the guidelines say.

Source: BBC

Sep 18, 2020

Zimbabwean authorities are in discussions with several international investment banks to support a new stock exchange that will trade exclusively in foreign currency, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said.

“The interest has been huge,” Ncube told an analyst briefing. He declined to give further details.

Yvonne Mhango, sub-Saharan Africa economist at Renaissance Capital, told the briefing that uppermost on foreign investors’ minds was the ability to repatriate their capital. “What they want is a functioning stock exchange,” Mhango said.

The global lenders would handle clearing and settlement of trades, thereby guaranteeing investors’ funds, Zimbabwe Stock Exchange Chief Executive Officer Justin Bgoni said at the event. The companies involved in talks are based in Africa, Asia and Europe, he said.

The exchange, to be known as VFEX and based in the resort town of Victoria Falls, will open in “a couple of weeks,” said Bgoni, who will also head the bourse.

 

Source: Bloomberg

 

Sep 17, 2020

As a leading global sports brand, Nike has evolved to become one of the prolific marketers in recent years. The company’s dedication to pump more resources into advertising and promotion is clearly paying off as reflected in its revenue.

Data presented by Safe Betting Sites indicates that Nike has spent $3.59 billion in advertising across 2020. The spending was a slight drop from last year’s $3.75 billion. The data shows that over the last five years, the American company has spent a total of $17.54 billion in advertising.

The research also overviewed Nike’s revenue over the years and 2020 has recorded $37.4 billion, representing a drop of 4.35% from last year’s $39.1 billion. Last year’s revenue was the highest in a span of five years. The study further indicates that in 2020 Nike closed 46 shops in the U.S, and only 10 overseas representing about 5.1% of all 1,096 retail stores. The closure was mainly due to the implications of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nike total spend 5yrs

Nike’s advertising strategy remains unique

Nike advertising covers different mediums including digital and print platforms. However, the firm has been focusing more on the digital section in relation to technological advancements. The company’s adverts are known to go the direction of emotional branding. The ads are strategically crafted to evoke particular feelings and needs among consumers that can only be satisfied with Nike products.

Additionally, Nike’s marketing approach has been untraditional. It has avoided the normal conventions of sports marketing by mostly favoring viral advertising and word-of-mouth. Nike has created some of the effective buzz marketing campaigns with both innovative products and celebrity endorsements and collaborations. For example, in 2018, Nike created an ad featuring NFL’s Colin Kaepernick despite the controversy surrounding the player.

Nike’s focus on effective marketing can be seen in its revenues that have majorly remained high despite the 2020 dip. This drop in revenue can be directly linked to the coronavirus pandemic. The health crisis compelled Nike to temporarily close some of its retail stores in leading markets like North America and China.

The pandemic played a key role in shifting consumer behavior, a change that was also felt at Nike. During the period, most consumers opted for online shopping in a bid to flatten the curve. The changing consumer behavior offers Nike an opportunity to transforms its business in regards to meeting customer needs.

Going into 2020, Nike was leveraging on several business strategies to grow its revenue before the pandemic disruption. Most importantly, the company expected to drive growth across footwear and apparel, by banking on innovations. Additionally, Nike expected solid growth across sportswear, Jordan, Nike Kids, and running categories, along with the rising brand value and international presence especially in developing countries. The apparel revenue which has recorded positive growth in recent years was also expected to lead he way in more revenue.

Nike’s revenue growth path

Overall, despite the 2020 drop in revenue, Nike is expected to rebound later this year accelerated by the reopening of retails stores in North America and China. Furthermore, Nike is set to make more investments in technology to deal with changing consumer behavior globally.

The company is heavily banking on strong leadership to make a revenue comeback after the coronavirus pandemic. In July this year, Nike announced a series of senior leadership changes as part of its Consumer Direct Acceleration (CDA) program. The program seeks to accelerate its digital transformation for generating long-term growth and profitability. The company expects the leadership changes to result in a net loss of jobs across the company, which will result in pre-tax one-time employee termination costs running into millions of dollars.

Nike’s consistent focus on product and marketing innovation should continue to pay off especially with a renewed commitment to upgrading the digital footprint through its Nike Direct business. Brand recognition and growth through endorsements will also be key in Nike’s journey to recovery.

However, the path towards recovery might be bumpy. Factors like the US-China trade wars might impact Nike’s equipment revenue that has been struggling in recent years. A majority of the company’s equipment is manufactured in China and the tough tariffs will likely complicate matters. Competitors Adidas cannot be ignored as they attempt to shake Nike’s position in the market.

Sep 16, 2020

Although the Covid-19 outbreak disrupted gold mine production and mineral exchanges, the stock price of the leading gold producing companies globally significantly increased in 2020.

According to data presented by AksjeBloggen, the market capitalization of the world’s five largest gold producing companies hit $157.7bn in September, a 73% jump since the beginning of the year.

Newmont Corporation Market Cap Soared Almost 80% in 2020

The coronavirus crisis knocked down global physical gold demand to its lowest level since 2009, as the price of the precious metal hit new all-time highs. However, as the scale of the pandemic and its potential economic impact started to emerge, investors turned to the gold market, causing a surge in global demand for investment gold.

In December 2019, the market cap of Newmont Corporation, the largest of the top gold producing companies in the world, stood at $29.3bn, revealed the Yahoo Finance data. The corporation, which holds significant operations in North and South America, Asia, Australia, and Africa, produced 195.7 tonnes of gold last year, a 25% increase year-on-year.

By the middle of March, the combined value of the company’s stocks rose to $35.8bn, despite the stock market crash caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The increasing trend continued in the following months, with the market cap jumping to $45bn in June. Statistics indicate the total value of stocks of the world’s largest gold producer hit $52.8bn in September, almost 80% increase since the beginning of the year.

Russia’s Largest Gold Producer Polyus Witnessed the Biggest Market Cap Increase

Barrick Gold ranked second on the list of the leading gold producers globally, with a production level of 170 tonnes in 2019, nearly 20% increase from the previous year. The company’s 10-year plan is based on production guidance of around 5 million ounces of gold per year.

Statistics show that the Toronto-based corporation’s market capitalization surged by 67% this year, rising from $30.9bn in December 2019 to $51.9bn in September.

The gold production level of AngloGold Ashanti, the third-largest company on this list, amounted to 102.1 tonnes in 2019, a slight decrease from the 106.1 tonnes it produced in 2018. In December, the market cap of the South African company with 17 gold operations in nine countries, stood at $9.46bn. During the last nine months, it rose to $11.66bn, a 23% jump since the beginning of the year.

Polyus produced 88.4 tonnes of gold last year, rising from seventh to fourth place on the list of the ten largest gold mining companies globally. However, this figure is expected to rise to approximately 2.8 million ounces or 87 tonnes of gold in 2020.

The Yahoo Finance data also revealed the leading gold producer in Russia witnessed the most significant increase in market capitalization among the top five gold-mining companies. In December, the combined value of the company’s stocks amounted to $15.26bn. In September, it hit $30.65bn, a 100% jump in nine months.

Statistics show the market cap of Kinross Gold, the fifth-largest gold producer globally, rose by more than 80% since the beginning of the year to $10.74bn in September.

Sep 16, 2020

The activities of the Djibouti Sovereign Fund (Fonds Souverain de Djibouti - FSD) were officially launched on Monday, September 14 at the presidential palace in the capital. Following the implementation decrees promulgated on June 24, 2020, a special inter-ministerial committee was held under the high authority of President Ismaël Omar Guelleh, in the presence of the Prime Minister, members of the government and the Fund's administrators.

The Sovereign Fund presents itself as an ambitious and innovative financial instrument aimed at turbocharging the country's development. It will strive to modernize the country's economy, to boost the growth of a competitive private sector and to enhance the development of the public productive sector, one of the essential instruments of this transformation.

Among the personalities present were the co-chairmen of SouthBridge, Mr. Donald Kaberuka (in videoconference) and Lionel Zinsou, as well as Mr. William Ediko, partner, who advised the Republic of Djibouti in setting up the Fund. Also present, Mr. Amir Jahanguiri, partner at law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, who advised the government for this project.

The holding of the inter-ministerial committee was also an opportunity to formalize the appointment of the Managing Director of the FSD, the Senegalese Mamadou Mbaye. A seasoned professional, Mr. Mbaye is a graduate of École Polytechnique and École nationale de la statistique et de l'administration économique (ENSAE) in France. He brings with him an outstanding experience in both the private and public sectors. He was previously Vice-President of the Sovereign Fund for Strategic Investments of Senegal (Fonsis).

The creation of the FSD is a flagship measure of the "Vision 2035", a long-term development strategy of the Republic of Djibouti which aims to position the country as a leading commercial, logistics, port and digital hub.

Established in the form of a private limited company whose sole shareholder is and will remain the State of Djibouti, the Fund aims to "collect" national wealth to leverage Djibouti's ability to invest quickly. 

The advertising and media industry, like many, have taken a hit from the Covid-19 pandemic. But, unlike a host of others, it’s been fragile for a number of years. Global advertising spend is forecasted to fall by 9.1% by 2021.

Advertising agencies are faced with shorter consumer attention spans, plummeting budgets, an ever-evolving media channel dynamic and the pressure to deliver faster than ever before. This, coupled with clients’ growing concern over their return-on-investment, has resulted in issues in the relationships advertising agencies have with their clients.

An unspoken issue in this relationship is the opportunistic behaviour by both parties, to the deliberate detriment of each other. Beneath the glamorous award ceremonies, witty campaigns by our favourite fast food joints and jumping on the latest Instagram challenge bandwagon are deceptive behaviours. A case in point is the Wimpy-McDonald’s scandal. After pitching an idea to McDonald’s, employees of advertising agency OwenKessel Leo Burnett began working at a new advertising agency, ‘The Odd Number’. There, they pitched the same idea that they had pitched to McDonald’s. In the end, the competing fast-food chains released the same advert.

A recent study exposes how clients (i.e., marketing managers at firms) and advertising agencies in South Africa act this way. This is confessed by advertising agencies and clients themselves. Both parties acknowledge that opportunism happens, blame the other, yet recognise the existence of opportunism on their part as well.

The study directs attention to client–agency opportunism by describing how it happens. It concludes with a discussion on how today’s client–agency dynamics can be improved. One suggestion, for example, is a simple two-way communication. Both advertising agencies and clients should clearly state what their objectives and available resources are. This will set the expectations of the relationship, to avoid misunderstandings, assumptions or tit-for-tat behaviour.

We interviewed account managers at leading advertising agencies, representing the advertising agency, and marketing managers at established firms, representing the client.

Opportunistic behaviour

The research shows that advertising agencies and clients act opportunistically both before and after the signing of a contract. Based on verbatims from the key account managers and marketing managers, the following findings were obtained.

Pre-contract, advertising agencies over-promise and withhold information. Often, the senior executives who pitch to the client are promised to work on the actual campaign, yet junior employees end up working on it post-contract. Other advertising agencies list clients on their website who they have done menial, or no, work for, giving a misleading impression of their credibility.

A particularly unique trait of advertising agencies is their prioritisation of winning awards, rather than doing what is best for the client’s return-on-investment. They might suggest, for example, the client pays R150 000 (about US$8990) for a television commercial, with the intention of using the campaign to win an advertising award. The client in this case would have benefited more from spending the money elsewhere.

Clients act opportunistically pre-contract by exploiting advertising agencies and withholding information. They might promise to pay the advertising agency for 80 hours of work, yet intend to subtly ask the advertising agencies for 10 more hours of work during the process without extra pay. Some clients steal the creative ideas that advertising agencies have pitched to them.

Once the honeymoon phase is over, the opportunism grows. Both parties continue to withhold information to maintain an advantage over the other. Advertising agencies overcharge by misrepresenting their actual hours working on the campaign. They also mislead their client to believe that the work undertaken is strenuous. This type of behaviour was prevalent with the advent of digital marketing. Clients overpaid for setting up websites or Facebook campaigns because it was unfamiliar territory to them. They did not know how few hours it actually took to create a Facebook advert.

Some agencies neglect, or stall, smaller client work to meet the demands of larger clients. Other agencies create separate entities, to work with competing brands from the same industry. For example, Entity A works with ‘Betty’s Burgers’ and Entity B works with ‘Bob’s Burgers’. In the case where allocated human and financial resources are agreed in advance, some agencies fail to disclose to the client when an employee has left their agency. This leaves the advertising agency with more money to distribute among their staff.

Post-contract, clients primarily use their power advantage to illtreat advertising agencies. This includes calling the advertising agency’s key account manager on a Sunday morning to demand work for 8am the next day. Some clients also send vague WhatsApp messages as briefs and expect the agency to deliver an outstanding campaign off that. In some cases, marketing managers may blame advertising agencies for ‘poor work’. This is done to encourage their board to hire an alternative advertising agency with whom the marketing manager has a personal relationship with.

Be that as it may, opportunistic behaviour in these relationships will continue to prevail. While there are sincerely altruistic people out there, opportunism is inherent in human behaviour. This is evident by the cases, such as Facebook and Cambridge Analytica; Volkswagen’s Dieselgate; and the North Face-Wikipedia scandals.

That said, favourable working relationships can be fostered by two-way communication, accountability from both parties, seeking an appropriate culture-fit early on, being fair and realistic when charging and paying, embodying reliability and adapting to changes in the environment as partners.

 

This article is based on the study, Perspectives: client–agency opportunism: how does it happen and what can we do about it?, that Raeesah Chohan co-authored with Richard Watson and Leyland Pitt, which was published in the International Journal of Advertising.The Conversation

Dr. Raeesah Chohan, Senior Lecturer of Marketing, University of Cape Town

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Although many South Africans view 5G as just a faster way to download videos and rich multimedia to their smartphones, it is enterprises and the industrial sector that have the most to gain from this fast-developing cellular network standard.

So, what is the big fuss? It’s all about latency and the fact that this technology will enable us to make close to instant decisions.

At the time of its global commercial launch last year, at least 20 operators were deploying 5G (fifth-generation wireless technology) networks in almost 300 locations around the world. According to some estimates, 5G will support more than 10% of global mobile connections by 2023. The average speed of these will be 575 megabits per second, 13 times faster than the current average. For their part, South African consumers have been able to access 5G services since November last year. And while coverage is still limited, it will only expand as demand for high-speed mobile access drive operators to continue to grow their networks.

But contrary to popular belief, 5G does not provide compelling benefits for consumers just quite yet. The sort of speeds that sound like science fiction is still years away. Additionally, people are only now starting to tap into the potential of 4G and the experiential improvements it delivers to their digital lifestyles. Moreover, smartphones that support 5G are still prohibitively expensive for the bulk of the consumer market, further limiting its adoption in the short-term. And with data prices coming down, the status quo certainly presents a better value proposition than expensive (and limited) 5G.

Jacques duo Toit

Driving rapid decision-making with real-time data

On the other hand, for businesses and industrial users, 5G represents a potential pathway into highly valuable and emerging new use cases. Importantly, for companies and industry players that have both the infrastructure and the right technology partners, there are numerous value-adding enterprise and industrial applications that can rapidly offset the initial high cost of embracing the technology.

A recent Nokia study, for example, has found that video is the most immediate use case from a corporate perspective. Video monitoring is already extensively used in enterprise and industrial environments. Notably, what 5G does (and can do) is to unlock higher-value opportunities in this sphere. For example, combining video with real-time analytics to recognise faces and identify risks in sensitive environments can mean the difference between life and death. The same study has noted that energy and manufacturing companies are looking to leverage 5G for things such as infrastructure maintenance, remote machine control, and even cloud robotics.

Additionally, another emerging area whereby 5G can deliver significant returns is with IoT devices. These are now able to deliver more sophisticated diagnoses on infrastructure performance in areas that are too dangerous – or laborious -  for people to continually monitor. And when it comes to IoT devices that are typically found at the edge of computing, the increased capacity of 5G means data can be analysed in real-time at the point of origin. For instance, machines in a manufacturing environment can be optimised to scale according to the capacity required. This can also enable proactive maintenance to take place by identifying potential breakdowns before they occur.

Looking ahead, 5G can also become instrumental in enabling companies to create multiple virtual networks using just one physical system. This introduces an integrated networking, computing, and storage environment previously impossible to do with 4G. As more countries, including South Africa, push the smart city agenda, 5G can facilitate comprehensive smart grids to manage demand-side electricity requirements. So, even something as routine as managing traffic congestion at peak times through 5G-enabled robots (that automatically adapt to usage patterns) can greatly improve service delivery.

Spectrum: the lifeblood of 5G

For South Africa’s business and industry players to fully embrace and realise the benefits of 5G connectivity, local operators have to gain access to key spectrum bands – a process which is currently shrouded in policy uncertainty. Yet without access to spectrum, SA industry will not get out of the starting blocks when it comes to 5G usage – and will arguably be left behind global competitors who are embracing technological development in the fast-growing digital economy.

Prior to the health crisis, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) was in the process of planning for the assignment of high-demand spectrum by auction. Yet in March, ICASA turned its attention to a spectrum relief plan to meet the sudden high demand placed on networks during the national lockdown.

More recently, the regulator stated that it will slightly delay the publication of the invitation to apply (ITA) for the wholesale open-access network and International Mobile Telecommunications spectrum (commonly known as high-demand spectrum). Disappointingly, this statement came despite the regulator’s briefing to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications that the ITAs would be published “very soon”. The ITA is for licences for spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 2.3GHz, 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz bands, which the regulator has committed to auction by December.

This uncertainty and prolonged delay (resulting in the fact that operators are still not sure which spectrum blocks they will be able to gain access to come the auction process in December) is arguably inhibiting the country’s technological competitiveness and by extension, economic growth.

Given the fact that many of SA’s operators and telecommunications players are both highly innovative and committed to world-class service delivery, unlocking access to spectrum – and access to the transformative benefits of 5G – can propel the country into a new period of economic vitality and dynamic business growth.

Sep 15, 2020

Ethiopian Airlines Group has successfully completed a new passenger terminal at its hub Addis Ababa Bole International Airport with emphasis on Bio Security and Bio Safety measures.

The new terminal has a capacity to accommodate 22 million passengers annually, the spacious terminal is designed to offer contactless and a convenient experience with the help of digitally equipped amenities. Besides the spacious check-in hall with sixty check-in counters, new immigration, security screening, boarding gates, travellator and panoramic lifts, the new terminal also features shopping malls, restaurants, entertainment areas, fully air-conditioned and features a ultra-luxurious new 5000 square metre lounge, plenty of relaxed seating and offering a first class dining experience.  .

In addition, for departing passengers it has three contact gates for wide body aircraft along with ten remote contact gates with travellator, escalator, and panoramic lifts. It will house thirty-two arrival immigration counters with eight e-gate provisions at the mezzanine floor level.

Regarding the expanded infrastructure, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines remarked:

I am very pleased to witness the realisation of a brand-new terminal at our Hub. While Addis Ababa Bole International Airport has overtaken Dubai to become the largest gateway to Africa last year, the new terminal will play a key role in cementing that position. What makes the new terminal unique is that it’s the first terminal in the world to be completed after Covid-19. It was designed, not re-purposed, with Bio safety and Bio security in mind.  I’m sure our esteemed customers will highly appreciate that. "

Aviation infrastructure expansion is one of the core pillars of Ethiopian’s Vision 2025. Ethiopian is continuously working on expanding airport facilities. The features of the new airport play a key role in protecting passengers’ and employees’ safety as airport experience becomes contactless.

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