As telecommunications companies prepare their networks to offer superfast 5G mobile technology that promises to unlock real-time analytics, cloud-based Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things applications for enterprises, we had an interview with Nixon Mageka Gecheo, Governance and ICT4D Expert, Universal Service Advisory Council at the Communications Authority of Kenya, to discuss on 5G in Africa and the upcoming 5G Africa Forum 2020.
Tell us about yourself?
I am currently a consultant with International Telecommunication Union Food and Agriculture Organisation (ITU/FAO) on developing of National E-agriculture strategy for Benin. I have also worked as an ICT4Agri consultant with Techno serve and previously worked as an ICT and Media Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture in Kenya till March 2016. I worked as the Chief ICT Officer at the Commission on Administrative Justice.
I have been able to achieve the following in the both as an advisor and at the Commission – led the conversation on adopting of ICT for Agriculture policy.
I was a Member of the steering committee of the Deputy President on Harnessing of data for sustainable development. Developed a concept for adoption of big data in agriculture, Also developed an ICT user policy, developed an ICT staff training plan in coordination with other departments, design and development of the commission website and Local Area Network (LAN), monitor performance indicator for the ICT department develop and implement Complaints Management and Information System (CMIS).
The system that was rolled out to all the 475 Performance contracting institution in the country. I have previously worked in East African Community as an IT Consultant.
5G, is it necessary – Is it worth the noise?
5G is worth the effort in smart or urban cities. It opens a door way to align with new smart technologies and business disruption
There are those who believe Africa has not been able to optimally utilise the advantages of 4G, Do you subscribe to this, and do you think Africa is ready for 5G technology?
Africa is not necessarily ready for 5G but doesn’t mean we should strive to implement it and be at per with the world. We are lucky to have leapfrogged the broadband era that Europe went through and jumped into mobile connectivity. So I believe we have to keep pace with the world while still connecting the rest of our villages and cities
5G has been touted to bring about revolution across all business sectors around the world, how do you foresee this technology evolving Africa businesses in terms of operation?
With smart technology driving business now. 5G is an important component of how businesses will change and services will be delivered. Things like AI, blockchain, IoT will work better with 5G and more new businesses will emerge solving real time problems
In what ways can Africa prepare for this revolution?
To prepare for this revolution we need infrastructure, data on our communities, access to connectivity, education, more businesses that can deliver and funding.
In what ways can 5G be maximally optimised by businesses in Africa for seamless transition?
Most top businesses in African cities use 4G at the minute and their infrastructure, technology and development is taking advantage of that to service their customers better or create better solutions. I think 5G will enhance the go to market and delivery of solutions faster even to micro communities
How is the Kenyan Communication Authority preparing to take advantage of the 5G technology?
I work with the regulator in Kenya, so ours will be basically to enhance the promotion of 5G to enable consumers enjoy the benefit that comes with the technology.
How can the 5G Africa Forum 2020 contribute to the furtherance of 5G technology in Africa?
This forum, the 5G Africa Forum 2020 will help create the necessary awareness and expose the use of 5G and hope it educate the delegates on the various opportunities that there are for Africa on the 5G network.
Join Nixon Mageka Gecheo and others at the forum billed to bring together wireless network providers, operators, industry experts, and policymakers to Johannesburg, South Africa on the 15th – 16th April 2020.