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ICT Parallel Session
Monday, 25 October 2010 07:17

No presentations available to publish on the website .... Summary of the Session Below.

 

Facilitator:


Towela NyirendaJere,
The NEPAD Agency

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Speakers:

 

Eugene Avenant,
TT & C Manager,
CSIR, Satellite Applications Centre
Topic: Use of Space Technology to Improve Transport and Communications in Africa

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Dr. Edmund Katiti,
Policy and Regulatory Advisor on ICT Infrastructure and
Acting Head of the NEPAD e-Africa Programme
Topic: NEPAD ICT Broadband Infrastructure Programme

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Dr. Jones Kilimbe,
CEO,
Regional African Satellite Organisation (RASCOM)
Topic: Satellite Communications in Africa

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Summary of ICT Parallel Session
13 October 2010
 

Three presentations were made dealing with Space Communications, Broadband Infrastructure and Satellite Communications.
 
Eugene Avenant, the TT & C Manager with the CSIR Satellite Applications Centre gave a presentation titled “Use of Space Technology to Improve Transport and Communications in Africa”.


He started by giving an overview of the Space landscape in South Africa, mentioning that issues of policy were under the remit of the Department of Trade and Industry while issues of strategy were handled by the Department of Science and Technology.


He then presented an overview of the four themes of the emerging South Africa National Space Agency (SANSA): Earth Observation, Space Science, Communications and Navigation and how national centres would be established to address each of these themes. His presentation provided examples of how space technology is used for asset management, tracking and telemetry and navigation within the context of transportation in Africa.
 
Dr. Edmund Katiti, Policy and Regulatory Advisor on ICT Infrastructure and acting Head of the NEPAD e-Africa Programme gave a presentation on the NEPAD ICT Broadband Infrastructure Programme. The presentation covered aspects of Umojanet and Baharicom, which had been previously scheduled for presentation by other speakers.


 Dr. Katiti gave a overview of the three pillars of the NEPAD ICT programme – Infrastructure, Skills and Access. Focusing on the issue of Infrastructure, he then went on to explain how the NEPAD ICT Broadband Infrastructure Programme will address issues of the digital divide at two levels: within the African continent and between Africa and the rest of the world.


The programme focuses on creating an enabling environment through the appropriate policy and regulatory framework and providing ubiquitous and affordable broadband connectivity.  The policy and regulatory framework is captured in the Kigali Protocol which was signed by 12 countries in 2006 and came into effect in 2008. Currently, work is ongoing on amendments to the protocol that would allow it to extend to the rest of the continent.


On the broadband connectivity Dr. Katiti explained that the project had two components: a submarine network encircling the continent called Uhurunet and a terrestrial network that will connect major cities called Umojanet. The development of Uhurunet is being undertaken by an SPV called Baharicom Development Company while the development of Umojanet is being undertaken by a company called Umojanet Corporation.
 
Dr. Jones Kilimbe, CEO of the Regional African Satellite Organisation (RASCOM) gave a presentation on “Satellite Communications in Africa”. He gave an overview of the origins and structuring of RASCOM, highlighting that RASCOM had established a separate company called Rascomstar-QAF that was responsible for the technical operations of RASCOM’s satellite infrastructure. He mentioned that a significant milestone was reached on 4 August 2010 when the second Pan-African satellite was launched.


In his presentation Dr. Kilimbe highlighted the significance of satellite connectivity as a means of providing coverage to the 65% of Africa’s population that resides in rural areas. He further highlighted the strategic partnerships that RASCOM had developed towards infrastructure development, among them the NEPAD e-Schools project, e-Post, Connect Africa and PIDA. He concluded by stressing that complementarity was essential between the various technologies such as the optical fiber networks and satellite networks in order to deliver on Africa’s requirements for connectivity.
 
Key issues that emerged during the Q & A sessions were:
 
- the modalities regarding the implementation of the Umojanet network and the implications for countries that signed the Kigali Protocol but were surrounded by countries that had not yet signed.
- the capacity envisaged for the Umojanet network and whether it had taken into account future needs of the continent
- capacity building and development  of African technical expertise to manage satellite and other infrastructure development
- the need for strong political will
- issues of positioning of national programmess in government with respect to the custodians of policy and the custodians of strategy.

 

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