By Patricia Obo-Nai, Vodafone Ghana CEO
The Covid-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted all aspects of our lives resulting in an unparalleled acceleration in digital transformation. The mobile community in sub-Saharan Africa responded to this crisis proactively to keep individuals and businesses connected. Nonetheless, nearly a billion people on the continent are still being left behind, and effectively and permanently remedying this, is the seminal challenge of our time.
Vodafone Ghana is proud to join our Vodacom, Vodafone and Safaricom teams across Africa to invite governments, industry players and businesses to become part of our Africa.Connected campaign. We commit to accelerate our efforts to close the digital divide and ensure that every man, woman and child is equally and equitably connected with no one left behind.
This campaign builds on our six-point plan to future-proof our network and infrastructure, accelerate support to governments, support e-education and e-health, enhance digital accessibility and literacy for the most vulnerable, promote widespread digital adoption for business, and ultimately support our societies to overcome the crisis brought by the pandemic through targeted digital adoption and better financial inclusion.
The economic repercussions of the pandemic have been brutal, and sub-Saharan Africa is facing a significant economic crisis. According to The World Bank in Africa, growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is predicted to fall to -3.3% in 2020, pushing the region into its first recession in 25 years.
A white paper by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimates that COVID-19 will drag African economies into an economic slump of about 1.4% in GDP. Preventative measures to restrict the spread of the coronavirus have generated significant setbacks for African economies mainly in terms of lost productivity and trade – both within and among countries. Specifically, these measures have significantly strained almost all key growth-enhancing sectors of many economies, and ultimately, on their overall income.
To expedite Africa’s economic recovery post-pandemic, the continent must accelerate digitalisation and expand regional cooperation. We are on the cusp of a “pan-African reset”, one that could transform the entire continent, improving living conditions and economy opportunities for more than 1 billion people. But the time to act is now! That is why Vodafone is launching the Africa.Connected campaign.
Together with our colleagues in markets across Africa, we are calling on governments, industry and business to join us in the journey to close the digital divide in Africa to make the continent more competitive, more resilient, more inclusive and greener.
We must continue a collaborative approach to build a future that is fair, inclusive and sustainable. Initiatives such as the African Union Commission digital transformation strategy and the UN Digital Cooperation Roadmap provide sensible frameworks for how this could progress.
The impact of Ghana’s digital footprint has been felt with the implementation of the mobile money interoperability platform, biometric national identification card, paperless port operations, e-procurement and smart workplaces among other initiatives. These initiatives form part of government of Ghana’s Digital Ghana Agenda, which is aimed at bridging the digital divide.
Vodafone Ghana is already at the forefront of advocating for change and leading the digitalisation agenda in the country. Our National Coding Programme, the establishment of ICT Centres in Senior High Schools and driving digital payments and mobile financial services through our Mobile Money platform, complement the government’s digital economy agenda. Our Internet of Things (IoT) solutions continue to power businesses and industries across the country. Additionally, we have been working with the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) to improve rural connectivity in the country.
We have developed digital platforms that are delivering end-to-end support for organisations within the agriculture and educational sectors. Vodafone is also offering tailor-made solutions for small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) that are addressing their challenges. Vodafone Ghana’s various digital channels including My Vodafone App and our virtual assistant, TOBi, have also redefined customer engagement during this pandemic.
Public-private partnerships are crucial to accelerate development
Even with the COVID-19 pandemic hastening changes in digital adoption, the race towards a digital Africa will depend on collaboration as well as technology. There are many admirable, ambitious targets to close the current digital divide, but they cannot be achieved if we work in isolation. It will take a strategic and considered set of public-private partnerships (PPPs) to achieve Africa’s ambitions to compete in the global digital economy.
During the pandemic, the mobile industry has worked hand-in-hand with governments and businesses to develop initiatives that alleviate the impact of the pandemic on citizens. From money transaction fee waivers to discounts on data tariffs for health and educational sites, as well as cash and equipment donations, mobile companies and other industry players have supported vulnerable communities during the pandemic, while also contributing to economic recovery efforts.
In Ghana, Vodafone demonstrated leadership through a number of initiatives in partnership with government including our Data for Good initiative – the provision of anonymised and aggregated mobile network data to assist the government in data-driven policy making during the ongoing global pandemic.
Vodafone also provided free access to education via the Vodafone Foundation Instant Schools platform and zero-rated e-learning platforms for over 60 schools and universities to enable them to continue their learning and teaching processes without worrying about data charges. In partnership with the Ghana Health Service, Vodafone Ghana’s Healthline Call Centre was also reopened with over 50 specialists to offer accurate information on the pandemic and refer suspected cases to the Rapid Response Team.
Connectivity is an economic imperative
The numbers tell the story. According to the GSMA Mobile Economy 2020 report, mobile technologies and services generated 9% of GDP in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2019 – a contribution that amounted to more than $155 billion of economic value added. The mobile ecosystem also supported almost 3.8 million jobs (directly and indirectly) and made a substantial contribution to the funding of the public sector, with $17 billion raised through taxation. By 2024, mobile’s contribution will reach around $184 billion as countries increasingly benefit from the improvements in productivity and efficiency brought about by the increased take-up of mobile services.
We must get more people online
Internet connectivity across Africa is still low, and there’s a need to use innovative ways to connect the unconnected and the underserved. The GSMA found that the mobile market in sub-Saharan Africa will reach several important milestones over the next five years: half a billion mobile subscribers in 2021, 1 billion mobile connections in 2024, and 50% subscriber penetration by 2025. These achievements will be underpinned by operators’ continued investment in network infrastructure.
To support broader digitalisation, major infrastructure expansions will be required, including those in backbone networks and last-mile connectivity. It is estimated that governments, development finance institutions, companies, and investors will need to spend $100 billion on key ICT infrastructure by 2030 to achieve universal broadband access— including 250,000 new 4G base stations and 250,000 km of fibre cable. And with 5G on the horizon, although not yet at the point of roll-out in most African countries, there is no question that there is a significant task ahead.
The digitalisation of our continent will not happen overnight. This is a long-term commitment that is only possible through sustained, robust and authentic collaboration.
EP REVIEW: BAD ARRANGEMENT BY JETEY
Jetey’s new 6-track ‘’Bad Arrangement’’ EP adorns Africa’s biggest and most successful genre, as he dives into the intricacies of being in a relationship that has lost its spark, be it for business or pleasure.
‘’Bad Arrangement’’ offers a tender ride on the ever resonant Afrobeat express with no redundancies, nor slack; start to finish and we must admit, we‘re sold!
‘’Bad Arrangement’’ is available on all digital streaming platforms globally here.
The crooner pulls this off with a team of six producers; KeezyOnTheBeat, BabaWvd, SkillisBeatz, Joshua Nkansah, UglyxToughThing and MintBeatz, but no features whatsoever, which may be a bummer to some, but understandable for a project this concise.
2020 left a lot to be desired and like everyone else, Jetey had all the time in the world to do some soul-searching of his own: the outcome being ‘’Bad Arrangement’’; a phoenix which arose from the ashes of the said year’s bad arrangements. In we go!
‘Somebody’ gets the show started with a warmth that’s embracing of its emotive tone. Jetey questions if there’s really someone for everyone, but feels otherwise because his ‘’somebody’’ is seemingly no one.
‘Taya’ swoops in next, rocking an upbeat tempo that guides listeners into its rather heart-wrenching tale of deceit and false assurances, which Jetey has unapologetically had enough of by the way; ‘’I taya you’’, he sings.
Then there’s ‘Lova’, a sweet offering propped up by vocals so divine, cloud nine is a sure destination. It’s all smooth-talk from Jetey, who slithers his way into his female interests’ feminine mould, like Fela Kuti’s would with Afrobeat and who could blame him? He’s got that Afrobeat love.
‘Circles’ is the next of kin. Its moody air hinges on the all too familiar conundrum of wanting somebody who’s commitment is just not there, setting the pace for next in line, ‘Baa Na’.
Jetey engaged in a bad business, a fact he has to come to terms with. But that’s okay, ungratefulness isn’t his emotional yardstick. His love and respect remain absolute all day, everyday.
‘Healing’, the EP’s highlighting sound creeps in to end it all on a good foot. Jetey bows out with the fanciest of vocals and weightiest of messages which culminate in an ambience memorable at best.
Jetey’s ‘’Bad Arrangement’’ may be a year late, but nevertheless, right on time. His emotional turmoils bounce off the very formidable instrumentals on offer, lunging straight at your attention and affection centers with poignant lyrics sure to serve as the perfect companion.
DJ AKUAA’S NEW BLACK GIRL ANTHEM FEATURES KUAMI EUGENE; YES, COCOA!
DJ Akuaa’s new collaboration, ‘Yes Cocoa,’ features reigning VGMA “Artist of the Year,” Kuami Eugene, and comes with a music video that really smacks.
Kuami Eugene‘s piercing vocals seamlessly slip in to buoy up the highly melodic production, as he prepares DJ Akuaa for her lyrical takeover, which she expertly achieves with a superb verse that demonstrates her capability as an all-round music contender.
Watch Official Video here:
KWEKU BIZKIT HONORS THE LATE FLT LT JERRY JOHN RAWLINGS WITH HIS NEW SINGLE – SOLDIER VIO
It’s definitely one of the records you will always remember. They say it’s one thing to do music and another thing to do it in honor of someone. Using the impactful run of the late Jerry John Rawlings as a measure, its right to say he deserves this treat.
Afrobeat artiste Kweku Bizkit honors Ghana’s late president at large with his new single christened “SOLDIER VIO”.
Bizkit In an interview with Lakers of Starbuzz Tv, shared with us the inspiration behind this song. The US Based singer said; “Flt. Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings came into power as a military ruler and had so much charisma and charm that he was adored and loved by many. Coincidentally, we share the same hometown”, he reiterated”
With the demise of the late president on November 12, 2020, I felt is right to pay tribute to him as one of the best statesman Ghana has ever had through the sound that’s basically how “Soldier Vio” came about…. he added
Kweku Bizkit recruited Veteran singer Zeal of the legendary music group VVIP to help him create this masterpiece. The multiple award winning Zeal is the lead singer of the group VVIP and award winning producer.
The song [Audio and Visuals] is scheduled to be out on all platforms on Friday June 4th. Video was shot in Ghana and US by Juice Bigfellow, a video director based in Atlanta.
Production credit goes to the award winning and multiple hits producing engineer, Beat Master Garzy. With the credibility of Garzy on deck you can only imagine a banger.
Let’s all throw our weight in support of this new one. Big up Kweku Bizkit and Zeal for serving us a timeless piece.
Watch Official Video Below:
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