With digitalisation unlocking a plethora of business opportunities in an increasingly connected continent, African countries are emphasising investments in digital technologies, communications infrastructure, IT hubs, data centres, e-commerce, and e-government services. With the ratification of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA), new opportunities in technology start-ups and e-businesses are expected to grow the combined GDP to over $600bn.
The African Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy 2020-2030 aims to bring universal digital access and develop a single pan-African digital market. The World Bank estimates that just a 10% increase in mobile internet penetration can translate into a 2.5% increase in GDP.
Satellite connectivity solutions enable the integration of the latest technologies with existing infrastructure. According to the African Space Industry Annual Report 2019, satellite communications generate approximately $6.5bn in Africa annually. IEC Telecom Group, an international provider of satellite communication services, expanded its services to East Africa in 2021 with an official partnership with Osta Tech Limited, an information and technology company in Kenya. This partnership has been key to creating economic opportunities as well as increasing investments in innovative infrastructure and satellite communications in the East African market.
Kenya is becoming a tech hub for East Africa and is one of the fastest-growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, 10% of all projects awarded between 2018 and 2020 focused on the digital transformation of the government, healthcare, and education sectors. “Connectivity is crucial for efficient, affordable, and safe business processes. Digitalisation can empower business owners with reduced infrastructure investments and state-of-the-art hybrid technologies. It is almost a virtuous circle to see innovations in technology creating opportunities for increased entrepreneurship, and increased incentives for doing business in Kenya creating the demand for more connectivity,” said Oscar Mwai, Chief Executive Officer, Osta Tech Limited.
Alaa Alsadi, Business Development Director – Middle East & Africa, IEC Telecom Group, added: “We believe that the introduction of affordable satellite connectivity that enables access to resources for remote communities almost at par with well-connected urban areas creates immense incentives for entrepreneurship and innovation. Our wide portfolio of satcom solutions optimises e-business services, offers a reliable back-up for the GSM network, and ensures business continuity in an unpredictable and ever-evolving business landscape.”
As an International Golden Service Provider for Thuraya Telecommunications, IEC Telecom has worked jointly with Thuraya for 15+ years to develop high-performing customised solutions and value-added services that empower the public and private sector’s digital transformation journey. Thuraya’s portfolio of products is complemented by IEC Telecom’s value-added applications to bring bespoke and optimised connectivity services, including videoconferencing, remote maintenance, and telemedicine, to government, humanitarian, and enterprise operations across the globe.
Equipped with IEC Telecom’s state-of-the-art centralised management system called OneGate, Thuraya L-band solutions are optimised to deliver a wide range of value-added services, offering a user experience on par with VSAT. “There was a market need to provide the right management and optimisation tools to help our clients to have full visibility and control over their remote operations in a single centralised digital platform that they can access remotely. Using Thuraya’s wide range of L-band services and products to connect remote areas, teams, and operations, we provide many value-added services that take the connectivity experience to a higher level and provide our clients with end-to-end services fully designed and developed to fit their operational needs,” noted Alsadi.
OneGate is a future-ready network management solution that operates in dual GSM/satcom mode. This system is geared to minimise expenses by automatically routing traffic at the least cost while optimising usage by means of filtration and compression. In addition, OneGate is managed via a digital dashboard. This offers advanced visibility over active communication links and network traffic, bandwidth control, management of credit limits, the ability to issue vouchers for team communications, and more. All of the value-added services can be managed remotely, which allows to further save on transport costs and avoid logistical delays.
The flexibility and expertise in satellite communication technology offered by IEC Telecom through Osta Tech, its official local partner in East Africa, empower African businesses and the public sector to customise digital services and enable digital transformation plans and strategies not only with connectivity, but with fully managed services.
“Satellite connectivity allows humanitarian field missions, mobile telemedicine hubs, educators, remote workers, e-government, and public services to be available in communities that may be otherwise unreachable. Through our partnership with IEC Telecom and Thuraya, we offer flexibility for the complete satellite communications lifecycle, and we’re thrilled to see Africa benefit from the opportunities that digital transformation brings to its young economies,” concluded Mwai.