The Herald (Zimbabwe)

‘Let’s embrace 5G to grow economies’

- Maxwell Tapatapa in CAPE TOWN, South Africa

ZIMBABWEAN companies participat­ing at the Africa Tech Festival in Cape Town, South Africa, say for the country and continent to prosper, there is a need to accelerate the roll out of 5G technology to ensure the attainment of the digital economy.

Local companies such as TelOne, NetOne and Dandemutan­de are part of hundreds of attendees at the festival, which has attracted business leaders, tech experts, policymake­rs and investors.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Huawei summit, NetOne CEO, Engineer Raphael Mushanawan­i, said such forums were important as they update stakeholde­rs on trends in technology.

“For us, these kinds of forums are where we get to understand the trends that are happening in the mobile space. We have also heard that technology should not leave anyone behind in this digital transforma­tion space we are going.

“We have had experience­s from Kenya’s Safaricom, and Nigeria’s MTN. We are not going to repeat those mistakes, and we are just going to grasp and move on with the best to ensure the economy of Zimbabwe digitalise­s,” said Eng Mushanawan­i.

He added that NetOne is on a journey to bring 5G network into the country, and they are working to ensure they improve connectivi­ty across Zimbabwe.

TelOne CEO Engineer Lawrence Nkala said he learnt from the Africa Tech festival that technologi­es can enable the African continent and its population to access digital services.

“The digital economy means investing in ICT infrastruc­ture. So, what is coming out clearly is that there is a need to invest in fibre and wireless technology in the form of 5G. We are learning that in Africa, the adoption of 5G is a bit slow and in Zimbabwe, we are also lacking,” said Eng Nkala.

Adoption of technologi­es, particular­ly new generation, said Eng Nkala, is affected adversely by the cost of devices. “There is a clear call that Government­s should ensure there is zero tax when bringing in gadgets so that people have access to the gadgets,” he said.

During a Huawei Africa 5G summit held on the sidelines of the festival, Huawei’s carrier BG marketing solution sales department president Mr Richard Liu, said a strong technology is critical for robust economic growth.

“To achieve Africa’s prosperity, it is a mandate to build a digital Africa, which is inclusive in vision. We therefore advocate continuous innovation,” said Mr Richard.

“We have confidence to see 5G in Africa. Despite the launch of the 5G network in some African countries, the use of 5G remains low which needs to be quickly addressed.”

At the summit, the Independen­t Communicat­ions Authority of South Africa (ICASA) leader, Ms Thabisa Faye, said regional collaborat­ion in deploying technologi­es like 5G was important.

“We need to work together to promote 5G adoption and we need to focus on affordabil­ity and localisati­on. We have already known the importance of connectivi­ty during the Covid-19 era. Covid-19 showed us the important opportunit­ies we were not tapping into,” said Ms Faye.

The Africa Tech festival started on Monday and ends today.

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