By Victor Ezeja
As the debate over what 5G portends for Africa rages, the technology has been estimated to support an ecosystem that would create economic value worth $2.2 trillion by 2034.
This was disclosed by the President, Africa Digital Economy Forum (ADEF), Mr Olusola Teniola during the 3rd edition of Prime Business Africa’s webinar held on Tuesday which focused on the general landscape of technology and how it affects African businesses and economies.
Teniola who is also the immediate past President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), and member of the Implementation Steering Committee for Nigeria National Broadband Plan 2020-25, painted a picture of what 5G means for the development of Africa by 2030 given the feasibility studies undertaken to that effect.
He said the benefits of 5G would cut across sectors like Agriculture and mining (7%), ICT and Trade (15%), Manufacturing and utilities (34%), Public services (16%), Professional and Financial services (28%).
Contrary to the opinion held by many about the technology having downsides, especially on health of people, the telecommunication expert stated that it has no such implication.
He added that a powerful group of government delegation of technical experts in Nigeria have studied features of the technology, and saw that it has no such negative effect, before going ahead to approve its adoption in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council had earlier in the month, approved the 5G Network to improve access to digital services in the country.
While announcing the approval, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami said the benefits are not just economic, health, security and education, but also includes higher capacity data rates.
Pantami had stated that radiation from the 5G has proven to be lower than 4G, televisions or micro waves and is standard for broadband cellular networks.
Teniola noted that 5G is inevitable adding that it will require total overhaul and upgrade of telecom infrastructure and mass enlightenment of people especially young Africans to be at home with adoption of the modern infrastructure coming with it.
He also urged appropriate regulatory authority not to indulge in making policies that will stand on the neck of the initiative in Africa.
His words, “For Africa to fully embrace the full potential of 5G, it needs to remove Rights of Ways (ROW)s and other levies, introduce doable Digital Strategies and Broadband Plans at National levels that accommodates an increase in fiber coverage and increased Tower deployments and/or usage of streetlights and of course consider the environmental impacts.”
Commenting on the presentation by Teniola, Dr Abdulahi Bashir of Modibbo Adama University, Yola, said the future is going towards fintech and Africa should not be left out.
He stressed the need for authorities to be adequately enlightened on the the risks, vulnerabilities and beneifts of the growing technology so as to adopt good policy initiative and exercise better regulation of the system.