[Rwanda] SADA kicks off with launch of first National digital academy

Smart Africa’s capacity building arm, The Smart Africa Digital Academy (SADA) in partnership with Rwanda’s Ministry of ICT and Innovation have launched a national digital academy in the country, marking the official kick off of in-country implementation of the initiative. The agreement is contained within a MOU signed today between the Smart Africa Alliance and the Rwanda’s Ministry of ICT. This follows the continental launch of SADA that took place in the Republic of Congo last month.

A pan-African dynamic learning ecosystem, SADA aims to improve digital skills qualifications, employability, and meet the emerging talent needs of African citizens. The national digital academy will support the uniquely identified digital skills priority needs at the national level. Furthermore, such national digital academies will soon be rolled out in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Tunisia.

In 2021 ahead of this official launch, SADA implemented capacity building activities in Rwanda where more than 500 security forces were trained under SADA’s ICT Skills & Capacity Building Spectrum. 461 command students and staff in Gako as well as 71 Senior Officials in Nyakinama were enrolled and successfully completed a training in Digital Literacy which covered modules such as Computer and online essentials, online elaboration and cyber security.

As part of next steps, Smart Africa and the Ministry of ICT and Innovation will continue to engage with the key stakeholders to implement the identified initiatives under the SADA Rwanda framework.
Planned initiatives include training and certification of Government technicians in advanced computing, training of teachers and Agri entrepreneurs as well as regulators, with the support of partners such as GIZ, World Bank, Intel, HPE.

Commenting on the launch, Mr. Lacina Koné, the Director General and CEO of Smart Africa said: “Rwanda is one of the pioneers of digital adoption and has been doing an amazing job in improving digital skills for its citizens. We are pleased to contribute positively to the nation capacity building through the launch of SADA in Rwanda.”

“Digital skills are the cornerstone of the digital transformation that we seek to attain. Our partners recognize that as proven by their vital support to this important initiative,” he added.

Hon. Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT and Innovation who graced the launch thanked Smart Africa and said “We welcome this transformative partnership with Smart Africa and we are delighted to be among the seven countries where this programme was piloted. Rwanda is keen to develop digital skills across the entire spectrum and we hope to leverage this programme to equip our citizens with digital skills in different sectors to increase their participation in the digital economy.”

Since its start of operation in August 2020, focusing on the Capacity Building for Decision Makers (CBDM) module, SADA has trained over 2,000 policy and decision-makers across 26 countries in trending digital transformation topics including Artificial Intelligence Use Cases, 5G Connectivity, Data Protection & Privacy, Rural Broadband Policies, Security Technologies, Regulatory and Innovative Sandboxing Environments, Data Centers and Cloud, Digital Identity for Underserved, ePayment, etc. The objective is to reach over 22,000 trained beneficiaries by 2023, supported by the SADA In-country implementation wave.

www.minict.gov.rw

Ericsson pledges to support one million young people by 2025 with access to digital learning and skills

Ericsson announces a major new commitment to empower one million children and young people by 2025 through access to digital learning, tools, content and development programs.

This commitment forms part of the World Economic Forum-aligned EDISON Alliance 1 Billion Lives Challenge – a global movement of forty-five champions from the public and private sectors.

The members, including Ericsson, are committed to prioritizing digital inclusion as foundational to the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) so that every person can fully participate in the digital economy and society.

The ‘1 Billion Lives Challenge’ brings together digital inclusion commitments from governments, companies and other organizations globally.

Ericsson’s new commitment will be unveiled today by company President and CEO, Börje Ekholm, in a virtual address to the Global Forum for Children and Youth. Ekholm will explain the criticality of the work to Ericsson in realizing its mission: to enable a world where limitless connectivity improves lives, redefines business and pioneers a sustainable future – a world where limitless connectivity means limitless possibility.

Building on a legacy of work in digital inclusion

Today’s commitment will be realized through Ericsson’s leading Connect To Learn initiative which has positively impacted more than 200,000 children and young people in more than 25 countries around the world since its foundation in 2010.

The initiative is enabling access to quality education for underserved and unconnected communities and establishing an inclusive digital platform with a focus on empowering the next generation with digital skills, essential for their socio-economic development. It also aims to improve gender equality by empowering women and girls through ICT.

Ericsson President and CEO, Börje Ekholm, says: “At the heart of Ericsson’s purpose is the belief that connectivity creates possibilities for all people. We believe it is a responsibility of government and business to work together to build a more equitable future for children and young people – digital connection is a critical enabler of this, ensuring that every young person has access to a quality internet connection and can acquire the necessary skills to thrive in a digital economy.”

He adds: “This is why we are making this pledge to help narrow the digital divide and create a more equitable society. This is the latest milestone for Ericsson’s Connect To Learn program, which has been working for over 10 years to advance digital inclusion. However, there is still much more to be done. We call on partners, customers, governments and NGOs to join us in pledging the resources needed to make a real, lasting difference.”

A long-term partnership with the EDISON Alliance

Ericsson’s commitment to the World Economic Forum’s EDISON Alliance 1 Billion lives challenge comes in addition to its partnership with UNICEF, in support of the Giga Initiative. The Giga Initiative is a partner of the EDISON alliance and aims to connect every school to the internet by 2030 and every young person to information, opportunity, and choice.

www.ericsson.com

MTN appoints Hermann Tischendorf Chief Technology & Information Officer for Digital and Fintech

MTN Group has announced the appointment of Hermann Tischendorf as Chief Technology & Information Officer for Digital and Fintech.

“We are delighted to have a seasoned executive of Hermann’s calibre joining our growing DigiFin team,” says MTN Group Chief Digital and Fintech Officer Serigne Dioum. “He brings the skills and experience that will accelerate innovative digital and fintech advancements in line with our strategic intent of leading digital solutions for Africa progress.”

Hermann joins from 4Finance Group, where he was Chief Technology Officer. He has 30 years of experience in the financial services sector, where he has occupied numerous senior roles. Hermann brings a solid track record of success in directing organisational expansion, digital product development, operations management, IT budget allocation, as well as mergers and acquisitions.

MTN says Hermann is expected to offer transformation and disruption to mobile payment platform and help improve customer engagement, experience, acquisition and loyalty. He will also be responsible for developing new products and services, building the nascent ecosystem and scaling up existing revenue streams.

Hermann holds a Master of Business Administration and a Diploma with Honours from Karl-Franzens University of Graz, Austria and studied Finance & Banking at the Anderson School of Management, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). His appointment took effect on 1 December 2021.

www.mtn.com

UNICEF and Liquid Intelligent Technologies launch a partnership to help Giga bridge the digital divide in Africa

UNICEF and Liquid Intelligent Technologies, a business of Cassava Technologies, a pan-African technology group, announced a partnership in support of Giga’s work to connect every school to the Internet and every young person to information, opportunity, and choice.

Liquid will share anonymized data to support Giga’s work to map the location and connectivity status of schools in Africa. Liquid will also share information with Giga about schools’ proximity to telecoms infrastructure and will help develop a connectivity monitoring platform. The resulting information will provide a basis for better-targeted investment to connect schools, including in hard-to-reach areas.

The partnership will initially focus on Kenya but will aim to incorporate other Liquid markets over time, including South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Rwanda.

“This partnership with Liquid will allow our Giga team to gain a deeper understanding of the connectivity landscape in Kenya and across Africa,” said Thomas Davin, Director, Office of Innovation at UNICEF. “That knowledge will help UNICEF to get more schools online, giving children access to the opportunities they need to flourish.”

Ben Roberts, Group Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at Liquid Intelligent Technologies, said, “The Giga Initiative from UNICEF and ITU echoes Liquid’s sentiment of creating a digitally resilient economy in Kenya and Africa at large. There is no better place to start than our schools that shape the minds of our children, thereby securing our future. Through our expertise in the digital and telecom landscape, we will support UNICEF in its endeavour to map school connectivity data across Kenya by providing real-time figures to measure impact. This initiative also reiterates the vision of our parent company – Cassava Technologies, of creating a digitally connected continent that leaves no African behind.”

Around half of the world’s population still has no meaningful access to the Internet. UNICEF and Liquid are committed to addressing this digital divide, which has widened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Giga has already mapped over 1 million schools and their connectivity around the world and has connected over 3,000 schools.

Liquid has connected 4,000 schools to internet across Africa. The company aspires to continue empowering schools with digital technology and has mapped 150,000 schools through the continent. 

Giga is part of UNICEF’s broader Reimagine Education initiative, the UN Secretary General’s Common Agenda and Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, and ITU’s Partner2 Connect Coalition. It has the potential to transform efforts to narrow the digital divide, providing a connectivity layer on which digital empowerment initiatives can build.

www.liquid.tech

Government of Rwanda and Google collaborate to accelerate digital transformation

The Government of Rwanda, led by the Ministry of ICT and Innovation, has partnered with Google to accelerate the country’s digital transformation. This initiative is in line with Rwanda’s ambition to drive inclusive economic development leveraging technology.

Rwanda’s vibrant economy is an ideal launch pad for future innovation in Africa, with focus in four key areas: affordable and universal access to connectivity; adoption of digital platforms; Digital Skilling for All; and fostering a pan-African innovation ecosystem. The Rwanda-Google collaboration is one of several initiatives to advance the above key areas. It will also include support for a progressive policy framework and contribute to an open digital payment ecosystem through the Mojaloop platform.

Initially, the partnership aims to:

  • Support a Training of Trainers (ToT) pilot for Rwanda’s Digital Ambassadors, a national program to increase digital literacy among Rwanda citizens by recruiting digitally-savvy youth to deliver digital literacy training
  • Upskill 500 developers through Google’s developer training and community support programs
  • Pilot a fintech incubation program for early stage fintech companies, starting with 15 companies in collaboration with Kigali Innovation City, and delivered by a Google for Startups partner
  • Accelerate e-commerce growth by supporting 3,000 Small and Medium Businesses to go online as well as equipping 1,000 iWorkers
  • Bring Rwanda to the world through Google Street View by enhancing digital maps of key urban centres
  • Digitise Rwanda’s cultural assets and provide access to heritage through digital storytelling in collaboration with the National Museums of Rwanda

“This collaboration with the Government of Rwanda is an important milestone for us coming soon after our CEO’s commitment to the continent to support Africa’s digital transformation. We will help build a Digital Rwanda by up-skilling the youth, digitally accelerating small businesses, supporting start-ups and developers, improved maps and navigation, digitising Rwanda’s cultural heritage as well as supporting a progressive policy framework. We look forward to deepening our collaboration with the Government of Rwanda,” Agnes Gathaiya, Country Director, Eastern Africa.

“We are pleased to launch this partnership with Google to complement existing efforts to drive digital inclusion, skilling and support the growth of the innovation ecosystem in Rwanda. Growing the digital economy is critical and will continue to drive Rwanda’s economic transformation in line with the country’s vision to become a knowledge-driven economy,” Paula Ingabire, Rwanda’s Minister of ICT and Innovation.

Google will continue to work with the Ministry of ICT and Innovation to increase its efforts to support Rwanda’s digital transformation.

www.minict.gov.rw

Airtel Africa and UNICEF announce multi-million dollar partnership to scale-up digital learning for children across Africa

Airtel Africa and UNICEF have announced a five-year pan-African partnership to help accelerate the roll-out of digital learning through connecting schools to the internet and ensuring free access to learning platforms across 13 countries. By providing equal access to quality digital learning, particularly for the most vulnerable children, the partnership will help to ensure that every child reaches their full potential.    

Airtel Africa, a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services in Africa, is the first African private sector partner to make a multimillion-dollar commitment to ‘Reimagine Education’, a global initiative launched by UNICEF in 2020 calling for public and private sector investment in digital learning  as an essential service for every child and young person across the globe. This initiative aims to to give children a chance to catch up on their learning needs amid the ongoing global pandemic.

“Hundreds of millions of children in Africa have seen their education disrupted or put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “By championing digital education for children in Africa, this partnership with Airtel Africa will help put children’s learning back on track.”

Airtel Africa’s financial and in-kind contribution for this partnership is $57 million over five years to 2027. The programme will call on technology and expertise, in addition to direct financial support to connect schools and communities to the internet, enable free access to online educational content for learners. It will also provide vital data insights to inform UNICEF’s work to scale-up digital learning and help ensure it is sustainable and meets students’ needs across Africa.

“As a business, we have focused on education as a key area of our corporate social responsibility, and we are delighted that this partnership with UNICEF will enable us to accelerate results. It also coincides with the launch of our new sustainability strategy, which lays out our commitment to education,” said Olusegun Ogunsanya, CEO of Airtel Africa. “We are excited to be working with UNICEF to advance the education agenda on the continent through facilitating connectivity and online access to play a role in driving change,” he added.

The Airtel Africa and UNICEF pan-Africanpartnership will benefit learners in Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

www.unicef.org

www.airtel.africa

ESOA and Smart Africa partner to advance digital transformation in Africa

ESOA, the EMEA Satellite Operators Association and the Smart Africa Alliance (Smart Africa) are pleased to announce their partnership with a view to advance Africa’s digital transformation.

ESOA and Smart Africa will collaborate on digital transformation and innovation initiatives across the continent. The aim of the partnership is to achieve the goals on coverage and connectivity with satellite solutions across Africa in education, healthcare, research and development and other essential fields within Smart Africa Member States. The organisations will collaborate on common activities supporting the development of the space and satellite industry in Africa through sharing best practices in satellite regulation and implementation, showcasing successful use cases within Africa and leveraging the knowledge base on satellite services deployment in Africa.

Smart Africa is an alliance of 32 African countries, international organisations and global private sector players tasked with Africa’s digital agenda. With a vision to create a single digital market in Africa by 2030, the Smart Africa Alliance brings together Heads of State who seek to accelerate the digitalization of the continent and create a common market. Launched in 2013 by 7 African Heads of State, the Alliance now has 32 member countries, representing over 815 million people and over 40 Private Sector members committed to the vision and the advancement of Africa.

ESOA represents 22 global and regional satellite operators and is recognised as the representative body for satellite operators by international, regional, and national bodies including regulators, policymakers, standards-setting organisations such as 3GPP, the International Telecommunication Union and the World Economic Forum. ESOA works to foster a better understanding of the benefits of satellite communications for economies the world over and how favourable political, regulatory, and industrial frameworks can help policymakers leverage their strengths. ESOA leads the sector’s response to global challenges and opportunities. It offers a unified voice for the world’s largest operators, important regional operators and other companies that engage in satellite-related activities.

Mr Lacina Koné, Director General and CEO of Smart Africa commented: “The partnership will be a key milestone in driving thought-leadership for the satellite industry. We look forward to seeing mutually beneficial results for Smart Africa Member States in satellite communication arising from this partnership.”

Ms Holla-Maini, ESOA Secretary General noted: “Smart Africa is recognised for its leadership in Africa. We are looking forward to working in this partnership to make a tangible difference to the lives of African citizens and in turn to African economies.”

www.smartafrica.org