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Earth Finds

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.

 

Debt-distressed Africa Turn To International Monetary Fund

By Akani Chauke

By the International Monetary Fund (IMF's) own admission, there are circumstances where African governments' debt levels are so high they become unsustainable, such that the scheduled debt service exceeds the capacity of the member to service it.

This rings true for a number of countries in the Sub-Saharan African region, where the organisation, in its regional economic outlook for the year, warned debt servicing costs were becoming a burden, especially in oil-producing countries.

Among these are Angola, Gabon and Nigeria.

Overall, public debt rose above 50 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in some 22 countries at the end of 2016, up from ten countries in 2013.

According to the Brookings Institution, Cape Verde, Gambia, Congo, Mozambique, Mauritania, Sao Tome, Togo, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Sudan, respectively, are the countries searing under the heaviest debt.

The rankings are based on public debt as a percentage of GDP. Cape Verde are the heaviest indebted, with its debt 129,7 percent of GDP. Sudan's debt is 66,5 percent of GDP.

Recent statistics suggest Angola, Africa's second largest crude oil producer after Nigeria, is not far off. It has a government debt equivalent to over 65 percent of the country's GDP. Government debt to GDP in Angola averaged 49,75 percent from 2000 until 2017.

Statistics are based on data from the IMF's World Economic Outlook, the World Bank's World Development Indicators, and various countries' national statistics offices and central banks.

IMF economists- Sean Hagan, Maurice Obstfel and Poul Thomsen- jointly blogged that one potent source of uncertainty is the role of a big debt overhang in sapping political support for reforms from the public, which could see its sacrifices as primarily benefiting creditors.

"Pretending that unpayable debts can be repaid will only sap the effectiveness of the debtor's adjustment efforts, ultimately making all parties lose more than if they had promptly faced the facts," the trio stated.

On the back of its warnings that servicing debts were becoming burdensome, it is thus ironic that IMF is making a comeback to the African continent.

Countries with an insatiable appetite to borrow, but struggling to repay loans, are sourcing funds from the institution.

Economists pointed out after past few years of inactivity, largely because of increased Chinese funding to Africa, the IMF was back in the fold.

This is largely attributed to falling commodity prices and rising interest rates on loans are pushing several countries into unaffordable debt like that last seen in the 1980s and 1990s.

"Despite – or is it perhaps because of – increasing volumes of Chinese financing to Africa, that oft-reviled old banker, the IMF, is making a comeback to the continent," stated Peter Fabricius, Consultant of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS).

He noted during the 1980s and 1990s debt crisis many African countries turned to the IMF and its Bretton Woods partner institution, the World Bank, for financial bailouts but the economic formula, including African countries opening their economies to international trade, liberalizing their currencies and drastically cutting costs in exchange for loans, did not address Africa's economic woes.

"The 21st century, though, introduced a significant new banker – China," Fabricus stated.

According to the expert, instead of conditionalities, China prided itself on giving or lending money with "no strings attached."

The IMF stated nonetheless, despite the different approach, the number of sub-Saharan African countries in debt distress or facing high risk of debt distress rose from seven in 2013 to 12 in 2016.

"And so, African countries are returning to the IMF to seek bailouts," said Fabricus.

The analyst noted China's unconditional loans for infrastructure had considered the borrowing countries' abilities to service the loans.

Likewise, this time around, IMF is not quite so demanding about opening economies but it is still insisting that African countries who want loans cut their spending, he added.

South Africa must swiftly slash government borrowing if it is to avoid a debt trap that would force it to seek help from IMF, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni warned.

Recently, IMF downgraded the GDP expansion for Africa's two biggest economies-Nigeria and South Africa respectively.

IMF cut growth projections for Nigeria to 1,9 percent. South's economy is projected to grow by 0,8 percent, down from 1,5 percent.

Newly-appointed South African Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, consequently urged government against borrowing. This he said would force the country to seek assistance from the IMF.

"When you get into a debt trap that's where (at IMF) you end up," he told parliamentarians.

Trade Minister Commends Rosebud, Premier Roses

The state minister for trade and cooperatives Michael Werikhe has commended Rosebud and Premier Roses for the work they doing in floriculture industry.

The two firms owned by Ruparelia Group have continued to be the leading exporter of rose flowers to inthe international market. Because of their resilience, they have earned Uganda billions of shillings in foreign exchange.

"We  commend  both  Rosebud and Premier Roses for continuing to remain the biggest exporters of high quality Rose stems to the international market and do encourage their colleagues  to double their efforts in terms of improved products to attract better export returns" the minister said in an interview with Xpress Times, a local online news publisher.

He said that Rosebud did the country proud when they exported close to 16m high quality Rose stems to the World market during this year’s International Mothers day which falls every  May 13th, a season where the world flowers demand shoots up especially in  the Americas, Europe and the Scandinavian countries.

"Statistics emerging from the sector indicates that Rosebud being the biggest exporter of Rose flowers did our country proud by way of increasing their export capacity down from the normal 13m stems per month to over 16m respectively  just within that one month of International Mother’s day festive," he revealed.

"My ministry which is strategically charged with responsibility of observing  figures of all types of exports from Uganda shall continue to work with these investors to ensure that all necessary technical and logistical support is extended to them because of their pivotal role of empowering our people in fighting household poverty by way of creating thousands  of jobs for them not only in the flower sub sector but other key areas of the economy such as education, Real Estate, hospitality industry, Insurance among others” noted Werikhe.

The farm manager Ravi Kumar exclusively told Xpress Times recently that they have stepped up their corporate social responsibilities [CSR] efforts by way of helping the community of  Namulanda which surrounds both  their two farms to  benefit from a special pack  of free social services like access to clean water, healthcare, education and sports among others.

"We  sincerely appreciate the close cordial relationship we enjoy with the community of Namulanda at large as we closely ensure that they access free social services like access to water, financial services, education, healthcare and sports respectively as these are part of our official company corporate social responsibility work of giving back to the immediate communities’’ noted Kumar.

Rajiv Ruparelia the managing director  of Ruparelia Group said Rosebud is now well placed and has capacity to export more high quality Rose flowers to the World market because they have increased on their acreage output, fighting pests on farm and the deliberate introduction of new high quality flower species.

"Rosebud assures the country that they have developed full capacity that enables them to export more volumes of flowers to the world  and promised to continue creating more jobs especially  empowering the women who are vulnerable to poverty as they carry the biggest burden of nurturing their families" Rajiv observed.

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