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Technology (155)

Huawei Cloudlink Board Wins Two iF Design Awards 2019

Huawei CloudLink Board of Enterprise Communications recently won this year’s iF Design Award, which is known as the “Design Oscar”. The winning product, all-in-one Collaborative Telepresence—CloudLink Board, won two awards in recognition of its light, elegant, all-in-one design; minimalist appearance, various product highlights, and a unique emphasis on “the 3E’s”: efficient, empower, and emotional.

CloudLink Board is an intelligent collaborative videoconferencing endpoint. It integrates videoconferencing, interactive collaboration, wireless projection and other functions. Through voice control, intelligent broadcasting, facial recognition and other artificial intelligence technologies, CloudLink Board provides staff with a brand new meeting experience, one that is intelligent and collaborative. CloudLink Board will lead videoconferencing into an intelligent era.

CloudLink Board adheres to a minimalist, user-friendly design that emphasizes an experience that is effortless, and interactions that are natural and efficient. With its user-friendly appearance, it blends in easily with modern office environments.

CloudLink Board inherits the concept of 3E, efficient, empower, and emotional, in software interaction design. Based on a foundation for interactions that are effortless and efficient, CloudLink Board adds multiple content sources and a design that moves you, a design that empowers participants to communicate in a way that is highly-efficient and enjoyable

Huawei has engaged in the enterprise communications field for nearly 30 years, exploring innovation of future digitization and intelligentization. In the light of great practice, Huawei has developed the new generation of CloudLink Enterprise Communications solutions to help enterprises achieve digital office space, intelligent working mode, and industrialization production enabling.

Huawei Launches World's First 5G Base Station Core Chip For Simplified 5G

Huawei recently launched world's first core chip specifically designed for 5G base stations, Huawei TIANGANG. At a 5G launch event in Beijing that doubled up as a pre-briefing for the MWC Barcelona 2019, Huawei announced the innovative chip that will support simplified 5G networks and large-scale 5G network deployment all over the world. To date, the company has won 30 commercial 5G contracts and shipped over 25,000 5G base stations globally. 

Huawei is committed to taking complexity itself and creating simplicity for its customers. To this end, the company has invested heavily and continues to innovate. Its end-to-end 5G chips support networks of all standards and all bands (C band, 3.5G, and 2.6G), helping customers access the best wireless and microwave services. "Huawei has long been committed to investing in basic science and technology.

We were the first to make breakthroughs in key technologies for large-scale 5G commercial use," said Ryan Ding, Huawei Executive Director of the Board and Carrier BG CEO. "Huawei now has industry-leading capabilities to deliver end-to-end 5G, with simplified 5G networks and simplified operations & maintenance (O&M). We are leading the commercial rollout of 5G, and building a mature industry ecosystem."

 World's first 5G base station core chip

At today’s event, Huawei launched the industry's first 5G core chip, Huawei TIANGANG, with breakthroughs in integration, computing power, and spectral bandwidth. This chip is highly integrated, which means it can support large-scale integration of active power amplifiers (PAs) and passive antenna arrays into very small antennas.

It also boasts super high computing capacity, with a 2.5-fold increase over previous chips. Using the latest algorithms and beamforming technology, a single chip can control up to 64 channels, which is the industry's highest standard. This chip also supports the 200 MHz high spectral bandwidth, getting ready for future network deployment. 

This chip also brings revolutionary improvements in active antenna units (AAUs), with 50% smaller, 23% lighter, and 21% less power consuming base stations. 5G base stations can be deployed in just half the time it took to install a 4G base station. These features will help address issues such as site acquisition and network deployment costs. 

Simplified 5G solutions for quick, large-scale 5G deployment globally

Huawei began rolling out commercial 5G networks in 2018. It took the lead in the launch of a full range of commercial 5G products, 5G field testing and verification, and large-scale 5G commercial use. As of the end of 2018, Huawei has completed all pre-commercial testing and verification for its 5G products in China, green lighting 5G for commercial use.

On January 9, 2019, Huawei's 5G blade base station was awarded a First Class Progress in Science and Technology Prize, in recognition of its major technological breakthroughs and a unified modular design. All base station units use the blade form factor, and different modules can be combined as needed, making 5G base station installation as simple and easy as building blocks. 

"Huawei's full-series, all-scenario simplified 5G products enable ultimate 5G performance and experiences," said Yang Chaobin, President of Huawei 5G Network Product Line. "These products help significantly boost network deployment and O&M efficiency, and make 5G deployment easier than 4G." 

AI for autonomous driving networks

Today, Huawei also launched the world's first data center switch with an AI brain. Boasting industry-leading performance, this switch enables zero Ethernet packet loss and end-to-end latency of less than 10 milliseconds. It consumes less than 8W of power while delivering more computing capacity than 25 mainstream two-way CPU servers combined. 

Huawei has also introduced its full-stack, all-scenario AI technologies to enable an autonomous driving network, and developed the SoftCOM AI solution to help operators maximize energy efficiency, network performance, O&M efficiency, and user experiences. 

During the event, Richard Yu, Huawei Executive Director of the Board and Consumer BG CEO, also announced the world's fastest 5G multi-mode device chip and commercial devices. 

MWC 2019 runs from February 25 to 28 in Barcelona, Spain. Huawei is showcasing its products and solutions at booth 1H50 in Fira Gran Via Hall 1, booth 3I30 in Hall 3, the Innovation City zone in Hall 4, and booth 7C21 and 7C31 in Hall 7.

Telcos Urged To Enhance User Experience And Build Ecosystem In Video Business

Video is driving the demand for data services as a key revenue generator for telecoms operators. At AfricaCom, the largest telecommunications event in Africa, global ICT giant Huawei highlighted the importance for carriers to focus on the end user experience and building a video ecosystem that will fully release new growth potential. 

Huawei held its 3rd Video Forum at AfricaCom to discuss the evolution of video services, latest Telco video ecosystems and design of video-oriented business and network strategies. 

 “The strategic window for the video business opportunity is now open for Telcos. If video traffic proportion is doubled from 30% to 60%, DOU (Data of Usage) increases 5 times. The key is to enhance the user experience. As Huawei, we foresee a four hundred billion dollar market globally in video services for carriers over the next five years.

Huawei hopes to strengthen the ability of operators to enhance the user experience and is committed to enabling operator success through video and experience-based network construction,’ said David Chen, VP of Huawei Southern Africa Region, during his opening remarks.

During the Video Forum, Huawei said video business potential should be realised through an

all-round strategic partnership between various video industry role-players especially, OTT video service providers. More than 100 delegates from African Telcos and the video industry, including TikTok, Viskit, Harmonic and Hisense participated in the forum to discuss the evolution of video service, Telco video ecosystem and video-oriented business and network strategies. 

David Chen’s remark echoed by Mr. Bobby Ramsoondur, Chief Marketing Officer of Mauritius Telecom at the forum. Ramsoondur said to ensure the best video experience, Mauritius Telecom deployed a nationwide pure fiber network and a 4K ready IPTV platform, in partnership with Huawei. 

“Mauritius Telecom, with a 100% fibre coverage to households and the right TV content positioning strategy, has set the momentum to ensure the best video experience for its customers. Video network capabilities, being a crucial aspect of the video industry, Mauritius Telecom in partnership with Huawei has invested in a 4K ready IPTV platform.

The company is aiming to provide its customers with a topnotch service quality and a Next Generation TV viewing experience,” Bobby says.

Wanda Mkhize, Executive Content and VS Gaming at Telkom SA said, entertainment content is the biggest driver of internet usage and the genetics of a successful video product should at least include compelling content, a unique proposition in the market and an ability to reach scale.

“Entertainment usage is determined by connection type and data accessibility. This is where the biggest need for upgrade lies. Telkom has chosen to be an open enabler for both content provider and viewers. With services including FREEME and LIT, we provide always-on data connectivity, we aim for a 3-way-win business model between Operator, consumer and OTT.” Wanda said.

Huawei Cloud Unveiled In South Africa

HUAWEI CLOUD, the cloud-computing services of Huawei, today announced it unveils a new region in South Africa at AfricaCom 2018, making the company the world's first cloud service provider that operates a local data center to provide cloud services in Africa. 

Huawei Cloud South Africa region will start providing cloud services at the end of this year, allowing organizations operating inside South Africa and its neighboring countries to access lower-latency, reliable, and secure cloud services, such as Elastic Cloud Server (ECS), Elastic Volume Service (EVS), and Object Storage Service (OBS). Huawei Cloud also indicated a plan to unveil more new regions in Africa.

Director-General, National Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services, South Africa Mr. Robert Nkuna said: “Huawei has been a great technology partner to our country and they have regularly brought cutting edge technologies to our shores. The launch of the Huawei Cloud Service is taking place in an exciting period in our country.

For an example we are investing in skills development with numerous partners. We'll engage Huawei to transfer cloud technology skills to SA and the continent. We are convinced that we can fast track our development if we work in partnership with other stakeholders.” 

Li Peng, President of Huawei Southern Africa Region, said:” Huawei has been operating in Africa for 20 years, contributing to social and economic development and enriching African people's lives with its ICT solutions and services. We have in-depth understanding of African market and is capable of better meeting customers’ current and potential needs.

South Africa is one of the most diverse and promising emerging markets globally with tremendous potential. With cloud services, we are aiming to unleash the latent capacity by introducing cloud computing, one of key engines drive the growth in this era.” 

Edward Deng, Vice President of Huawei Cloud Business Unit, commented, “With over 30 years of technical accumulation in ICT infrastructure and products, Huawei provides reliable, secure, and sustainable cloud services to customers worldwide.

Looking forward, Huawei Cloud's innovative technologies and services, such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence, will help African governments, carriers, and enterprises in a variety of industries such as finance, energy, agriculture, to leapfrog to a fully-connected, intelligent era.” 

In the event, Huawei Cloud released the Africa Partnership Program with local channel partners, such as Altron, ATOS, BCX, Datacentrix, EOH, Gijima, StorTech, TCM,  Tech Mahindra, T-systems and  XON. 

In additional, Huawei also launched InTouch Aggregator, a PaaS platform powered on HUAWEI CLOUD, which helps connect carriers, open up telecom capabilities, enable OTT, and build up the cloud ecosystem. 

With over 30 years of technical accumulation in ICT infrastructure and products, Huawei provides reliable, secure, and sustainable cloud services to customers worldwide. Huawei Cloud and its partners' global reach cover Southeast Asia, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Africa, and China, with 22 regions and 37 availability zones.

A growing number of organizations, such as Groupe PSA, Santander Bank, European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Falabella, and Andreani, have chosen Huawei Cloud and partners, thanks to their cutting-edge technologies and professional local technical support.

 

Dangote Sinotruk Automobile Expands To Enhance Local Content

As the budding automobile company, Dangote Sinotruk West Africa Limited entered another phase in its expansion drive, the Company has said that it was increasing its local input into the assembling plant to up to 60 per cent, even as it plans to roll out commercial vehicles soon.

The expansion drive, which is part of the backward integration plan, is meant to enhance value addition and local content.

Group General Manager of the Company, Hikmat Thapa made this known during a facility tour of the Ikeja plant by the Lagos State Commissioner of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye.

He said having done with the phase one of the project, the Company has embarked on the phase two which has to do with adding of the facility for Cab welding, Painting & Trimming.

Thapa stated that the third phase of the project expansion would be to add the facility that would be used to fabricate, Paint & Assemble different type of Trailer bodies, load bodies with dual & triple axles, Tipper bodies & tankers and so on.

He explained that Dangote Sinotruck has installed capacity to assemble and produce 15 –16 trucks per shift  or 10,000 trucks annually and will create over 3000 different jobs across Nigeria.

Said he: The company has the plan to have welding & painting shops to fabricate & paint truck cabin & Trailers of different type so as to enhance local content of Completely Knocked Down (CKD) operation of commercial vehicle Manufacturing,

"In next one year, we have on our agenda to assemble and fabricate Truck Cabins, different type of trailers, Tipper bodies and Tankers etc. in our plant to increase value additions up 40 – 60 %"

The Automobile company said it hopes to expand sales to all the neighbouring West African States saying "we are targeting to sell our products to ECOWAS countries in addition to fulfilling local market requirement."

The Commissioner expressed surprise at the level of activities going on at the plant and commended the entrepreneur spirit of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the Chairman of the Company whose businesses are geared towards touching lives.

Mrs. Oladunjoye was optimistic that with the level at which the Company was going, it will soon be a matter of time when Nigerians would opportunity for cheap vehicles.

He enjoined other businessmen to emulate Alhaji Dangote in the efforts to create jobs through manufacturing rather than importation of finished products. She promised to relay the message of what she saw back to the state governor.

Dangote Sinotruk West Africa Limited  is a Joint Venture between Dangote Industries Limited and Sinotruck of China with the total investment of $100 million formed for assembling different type of Trucks, with the Nigerian Dangote Industries owing 65 per cent equity and 35 per cent by Sinotruk.

The company is established to assemble and produce full range of commercial vehicles covering heavy duty truck, medium truck, light truck and other semi-trailers etc.

It aims to meet an expected current demand of the segment of Automobiles required for logistics, construction, food & beverage industries in Nigeria to support the government's efforts on boosting the economic development across the country.

The objectives of establishing Dangote Sinotruk West Africa Limited is to provide employment opportunities to Nigerians, improve local automobile industry, add equipment base and achieve technological advancement in Nigeria, and in turn to promote the economic development in Nigeria

The Company is also to form a production hub at Lagos for heavy-duty & light duty trucks and commercial vehicles in West Africa. With the formation of the production base which will not only serve the market demands in Nigeria but also can fulfil the requirements of neighbouring ECOWAS countries.

Huawei Showcases Future Of Technology At MTN Expo

Huawei, a leading global Information and Communications Technology solutions provider (“ICT”) has showcased the future of technology with latest technological trends like the Virtual Reality gaming technology, RuralStar solution and the Connected Cow Agricultural solution among so many others. This happened at the MTN 20 year’s anniversary expo currently ongoing at Kololo Airstrip from 19th to 22nd October 2018.

According to Mr. Liujiawei the Managing Director of Huawei Uganda, Huawei will keep focusing on helping its customers to improve user experience, enable innovative services for vertical industries and to build telecom networks with more vitality and longer life cycle.

“With our mission and vision of bringing digital to every person, home, organization for a fully connected intelligent world, we hope that Uganda will continue moving faster into LTE for inspiring the development of many new applications, integration of industries, while it is gaining experience of the 5G business model and strengthening the 5G Ecosystem.

We highly believe that the technological revolution in a country like this will spur efficient administration, reduce administrative costs of governance, promote safety, increase economic productivity, create a digital Uganda, improve the standard of living and increase employment opportunities among others,”  added Mr. Liujiawei.     

Huawei was at the 2017 Mobile World Congress (MWC) awarded for its outstanding contribution for LTE revolution to 5G and in 2018, it presented technologies and solutions for 5G, All-Cloud network, video, and IoT in order to achieve better connections, better business growth, and better experience for its clients.

At the same time, Huawei has kept the road to 5G a reality since investing and innovating it five years back. Approximately US$600 million has been invested in research and development into 5G technologies from connected vehicles and smart homes to AR/VR and hologram videos among others.

The NB-IoT connected cow solution, WTTH (Wireless To The Home) and Rural Coverage solutions were also showcased at the MTN 20th Anniversary expo at Kololo.

The connected cow solution uses Narrow Band-IoT collar to monitor the cow’s activity by which to easily predict the Cow’s rut. The rut makes the cows to produce milk and trigger them to mating and breeding period. Farmers will easily check Cow’s rut notification anytime anywhere through a mobile app connected with the NB-IoT collar device. This increases farm productivity, efficiency and profitability.

For African markets where fixed broadband penetration is still low and where most users are mobile-first, WTTx is a quick win for mobile operators, WTTx is one of the most feasible and fastest solution not only to drive business growth for operators, but also to minimise the digital divide and provide broadband services for more people.

RuralStar2.0, an innovative site solution in terms of transmission, infrastructure, base station design, and energy. This solution addresses increasing demands for voice and data services from the unconnected and increases operator ROI for rural network deployment. This solution fulfills the following rural MBB requirements: 2G, 3G, or 4G rural MBB networks providing rates of over 10 Mbit/s at cell edges and cell coverage of 5 km; Extended 2G and 3G coverage at a maximum distance of 60 km from the nearest tower-mounted site, providing voice and data (over 1 Mbit/s at cell edges) services and cell coverage of 5 km.

 

 

 

 

To Connect The Unconnected With Innovations Towards Inclusive Growth

Twenty-three years ago, when former South African President Nelson Mandela spoke in Geneva at the International Telecommunication Union’s World TELECOM 1995, he underlined the importance of universal access to communication and information.

Mandela stressed the need to eliminate the divide between what he called the information-rich and the information-poor. His words were echoed by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the ITU’s Telecom World 2018, he mentioned the words inclusivity or inclusive at least 6 times in his 20-minute opening ceremony speech. 

Information and communication technology is developing at an unprecedented pace sweeping us into a digital era, where information has become a more important resource than raw materials and energy. The information economy is characterized by processing and developing data, instead of industrial production. Access to information is now essential for individuals’ development and national inclusive and sustainable growth. 

The African Union Agenda 2063 has acknowledged the importance of digital inclusivity to bring the continent on par with the rest of the world as an information society. Many African countries have embarked on their individual digital transformation journeys, by providing government services digitally and expanding access to ICT to cover more areas. 

However, there are still many people on the continent especially from rural areas which still lack basic access to information. According to the GSMA, in 2017, the number of unique mobile subscribers reached the symbolic mark of 5 billion, with 3.5 billion of them using mobile networks to access the internet.

Despite this achievement, there are still 3.8 billion people who remain offline, out of which 1.2 billion are not covered by a broadband capable network – the vast majority of this uncovered population lives in the rural areas in developing countries. Africa is home to the largest number of developing countries. On average, 69 percent of the African population do not have access to internet, with many of those unconnected living in rural areas. 

A few months ago I travelled to Zambia where I visited Mushindushi, a small village 300 kilometres from Lusaka. There I heard that people usually climbed 2-story high ant hills to get network to make a call. Due to poor coverage, locals don’t usually carry their mobile phones with them including teachers at a local primary school.

Since we were planning to cover the area, I talked with one of the teachers and asked him what he was expecting the future to be with adequate network and access to Internet, he hesitated for quite a while without eventually giving me an answer.  This reminds me of a survey conducted by Facebook in 11 countries, which found that over two thirds of people who are currently offline did not know what Internet is, let alone how to benefit from this powerful tool. 

Rural coverage is an universal challenge not only for countries in Africa; deploying infrastructure in remote areas can be twice as expensive, while revenue opportunities are as much as 10 times lower, a combination that deeply affects the business case for carriers to deploy communication infrastructure. In other words, high prices of deploying infrastructure in rural areas, combined with a relatively weak demand for mobile internet services, results in a supply-demand equilibrium with low population coverage. 

Governments usually require carriers to cover specific locations in rural areas from the perspective of social development and realization of basic human rights. It is true that it is a social obligation to cover rural areas, but it is also true that there must be a sustainable commercial imperative for rural coverage. 

According to GSMA’s report titled Enabling Rural Coverage, coverage obligations that are too ambitious and disregard the realities of the market will be impossible to attain, “without creating any incentive to expand coverage”. 

To break this vicious cycle and help carriers go the last mile for rural coverage, Huawei leveraged its global R&D resources and come up with a site solution called RuralStar. With this innovation, a base station can be deployed within one week, shortened from one month, with total costs reduced by around 70%. Moreover, it uses special equipment to cut down the power consumption to about 200 watts, equivalent to the power of about five regular light bulbs. This allows it to use solar panels in areas with little or no electric power. 

For carriers, this innovation means that instead of covering a wide area including those sparsely populated places with costly base stations, operators can now flag and cost-effectively target relatively populous areas, where there is a larger user base for revenue generation; the payback period of investment in rural coverage can be shortened by up to 70% from 10 years to less than 3 years. This makes rural coverage a profitable business which in turn will benefit rural areas socially and economically. 

This transformation means dynamic economic performance stimulated by active flows of information, goods and capital; it means agricultural produce can be sold in time and at good price, and teaching materials can be available at any time in any place; it also means health workers which are usually scarce resources in rural areas can be just a phone call away. 

Innovation opens a door for the unconnected and under connected people to a world of numerous possibilities for development. With this innovation-driven connectivity comes opportunity and the potential for more inclusive growth and sustainable development.

 

More Than 86% Of Businesses And Organizations Uses AI By 2025

By 2025, more than 86% of businesses and organizations will use AI, and data utilization will reach 80%; AI services will be everywhere, creating an intelligent world that will reveal endless vistas of opportunity, according to a research by Huawei, a global leading ICT solutions provider. 

The latest research titled Global Connectivity Index (GCI), shows that to most countries in Sub Saharan Africa(SSA) have embarked on the road to a digital economy, but they are at different stages of this journey. The bulk of the SSA region countries lie at the start of the digital economy transformation road. To tap into the inherent value of technology and ICT particularly for its people and businesses, SSA region countries must establish and complete the foundations including ubiquitous broadband, national data centers and cloud technologies. 

Chen Zhijun, president of Huawei Enterprise Southern Africa Region, said, human society is at the threshold of a fully connected, intelligent world, businesses and organizations need to find the right path to make the most of this intelligence. To create a platform for businesses and organizations to exchange ideas and stake their claim in the intelligent world, Huawei is going to hold HUAWEI CONNECT 2018 from October 10th to 12th, 2018 in Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Centre, China. This event will be joined by the best minds in the industry – including global ICT leaders, industry experts, and ecosystem partners – to chart the way forward and explore new opportunities. 

At HUAWEI CONNECT 2018, participants will be able to dive deep into industry trends and share ideas with industry leaders; Learn about Huawei's AI strategy and full-stack solutions for all scenarios, which help businesses and organizations go intelligent to seize opportunities and increase efficiency; explore new advancements in technology and digital solutions, and share innovations and best practices in AI, cloud, 5G, IoT, and video; Discover new ideas, prospects, partnerships, and business opportunities.“The door to the intelligent world is opening. To avoid being left behind, every developer needs to know where AI is heading, how to extract value from it, and keep moving forward. AI is ushering nations, organizations and businesses into a golden age of competence, creativity, and productivity. To seize the opportunities, businesses and organizations need to proactively activate intelligence for their growth and long term prosperous.” Chen said.= 

 

A Look At Ecommerce And Business Culture In Uganda

Traditionally in Uganda, business has been created based on the standard models of manufacturing, distribution, and retail. It often involves opening up a brick and mortar store that services an identified segment of customers.

Only 5 years ago, entrepreneurial urban youths were interested in apprenticeships or focussed opening up retail shops and boutiques. Today, however, the wealth that is breeding a new generation of millionaires in Uganda is being created through new and unconventional business opportunities.

With a steady increase in Internet connectivity, Internet world stats puts Uganda at 31% penetration rate, more and more Ugandans are embracing e-commerce. E-commerce refers to commercial transactions conducted electronically on the Internet.

Fiona Karungi is the sole proprietor of Pretty Perfect Uganda, a jewelry and accessories store. She started her business as a shop on Instagram, a social media site, but “felt it needed a more permanent home”.

One year down the line, she created prettyperfect.com, a website that she believes has given her brand more credibility.

“Because we had decided not to go the brick and mortar route, a website was ideal. On average, we receive about 250 orders monthly, 20% of these are from the website and the remaining 80% from Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp,” Fiona says.

Another budding entrepreneur Vaolah Amumpaire runs a hardware store online. “Wenahardware.com is Uganda’s first hardware only online store that seeks to revolutionise buying of construction materials and everything else used by constructors,” Vaolah says.

The government’s activities.

In October 2016, the Ministry of Information Communication Technology and National Guidance through its mandated agency National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) commenced the trial provision of free wireless access to the Internet in Kampala Central Business District and parts of Entebbe.

A quick call to NITA-U reveals that 169 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Local Governments (LGs) are now connected as well as 284 residential and commercial sites.

However, in July 2018, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), following directives from the government, imposed a tax on Over The Top (OTT) services involving applications that offer voice and messaging over the Internet. Users are charged 200 shillings ($0.0531) per day for services such as Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. That amounts to around $19 per year in a country where gross domestic product per capita was around $615 in 2016, according to World Bank figures.

A 1% tax on mobile money transactions was also introduced at the same time. It has since been revised from 1 to 0.5 percent by Parliament.

A growing industry

We visited Jumia, the leading online shop in Uganda, with an average of 300,000 visitors monthly. The bulk of Jumia’s orders are placed online via mobile. Most customers buy mobile phones, electronics, and household goods like detergent and sugar. 

The headquarters of Jumia, along Lumumba Avenue in Kampala, is a colourful collection of unassuming buildings that house Jumia’s services like Jumia Food and Jumia Travel. The common area is furnished in African print beanbags and pallet seats; a TV is mounted on the wall and remains off. In one corner of the lounge, an employee takes a Skype call.

Outside, in the parking lot, a fleet of delivery agents on motorcycles prepare to start their day. In the lounge is a painting of Africa on the wall with words like “Africa”, “Internet” and “leadership”. The organisation maintains a “startup attitude”. Jumia says.

“We truly believe in the power of the Internet and how it can change everyday lives, especially in Uganda,” says Neville Igasira Iguundura, Jumia’s Chief Marketing Officer. “You can save time and money by shopping online.”

Other local e-commerce sites include Kikuu, Parple Rayn, Dondolo, UgKart and 2fumbe.

Why trade online?

E-commerce offers a whole range of opportunities, like marketing, especially on social media, that can generate more sales. A website also offers customers around-the-clock, convenient service, that can boost your business.
E-commerce is an ideal way to take your brand from a traditional brick and mortar store to an innovative, well-loved brand.  

Due to the Internet’s accessibility, millions of people across the world can view your website at any time, meaning that for those looking to expand their businesses and reach out to a larger audience, you have many more opportunities to do so.

Juma Farid is a traditional healer with his own website and a sizeable social media presence. It provides him with an avenue to reach a wider clientele.

How to start

Social media is the simplest way to sell online. In Uganda, Facebook is the most popular site over 2 million Ugandans and presents a cost-effective way to reach all these people. Despite the social media tax, many Ugandans have found a way to circumvent this by the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) that mask the users’ exact location.

There are also tools like freewebstore.com and www.mozello.com that help build free online stores.

Digital Technologies Provide Fertile Ground For Uganda

Every day, the African tech sector uses some of the most basic mobile technologies in the world to create new disruption. A rising generation of technologists, coders and entrepreneurs are stepping up to solve some of our continent's most pressing problems. 

Entirely new industries around payment solutions, crowdsourcing and entertainment media are springing up in tech hubs in Kenya, Nigeria and other countries. 

The rise of companies like Jumia, Africa’s very first ecommerce platform, and Safeboda, providing transportation solutions in East Africa is encouraging and opening up new ways for Uganda to grow.

Below we look at some of the players and the ways they are contributing. 

First things first, the role of mobile 

For many Ugandans, the mobile phone is not just a communication device but also the primary channel to get online, as well as a vital tool to access various life-enhancing services. According to GSMA, mobile adoption in the African region has grown rapidly in recent years: overall subscriber penetration reached 44% in 2017, up from just 25% at the start of this decade. 

A report by Jumia earlier this year indicates that 77% of their website visitors use the mobile phone to log in.

 

Access to mobile connectivity is vital in empowering consumers and driving economic growth. The technology enhances access to many essential services, including education, health and utilities, while also enabling business models that support the efficient and sustainable delivery of key services through mobile-based platforms such as mobile money. 

Businesses are going online 

Jumia provides world-class, affordable and convenient online services to consumers in Africa that help them fulfill their basic everyday needs. We help them “save time and money”, Jumia says.

Online marketplaces provide the digital infrastructure to help businesses grow – both those trading on the platform, and those providing supporting services. 

Joyce Akello has been trading on Jumia for close to two years now as a home-and-living retailer. It’s been life changing for her and her family. She remembers when she was earning 300,000 UGX a month at an unsatisfying job. “I now make at least 800,000 UGX in sales per week on Jumia, and have grown to open up my own shop.” she says. 

Education is evolving

Fundibots is a Kampala based company that provides hands-on, practical Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education to children and youth in classrooms, communities and universities. They incorporate robotics, art and creativity to enable very diverse groups of students achieve strong learning outcomes.

Through their various school programs,  they also design curriculums, facilitate hands-on robotics training workshops, speaker presentations, science project assistance and guidance, career and skills development, mentorship. 

Providing Financial solutions 

The technology behind mobile money has revolutionised Uganda’s mobile economy. Mobile money technologies have become pervasive regardless of the quasi-inexistent banking system. The mobile economy in Uganda was valued at $12.26 billion as of March 2017. 

Startups like Ensibuuko that provides a cloud-based microfinance software for community-level financial entities in Africa. It extends modern electronic banking infrastructure to financial service entities in the developing world, helping savings and loans cooperatives go paperless and become more efficient by digitizing how they manage customer data and transactions.

It allows for web services even in rural areas with poor telecom infrastructure. The Ensibuuko software is also integrated to the mobile phone network and allows users to access their account via mobile phone — they can check the balance, make deposits and withdraw. This improves access and quality of service delivery. 

A huge opportunity for job creation  

Good-paying work has come with some of Africa’s tech innovations, such as SafeBoda, which has more than 6000 licensed motorcycle-taxi riders in Uganda and has recently opened up a riders’ academy to offer professional training to boda boda riders. This goes a long way in reducing road accidents and supporting safe movement of passengers in Kampala and other areas.  

Today, Jumia Uganda has over 500 vendors selling on its platform. These range from large businesses like Anisuma (who might employ 2-3 people to manage their Jumia sales) to SMEs (who typically employ 1). These people are managing their online stores and dropping off products with Jumia. 

Sources: GSMA 2018, NatGeo, Jumia Mobile Report 2018

 

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