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CONNECT AFRICA APPLAUDS CHIEFS ON RURAL DEVELOPMENT

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Zambian low-cost rural communications and services provider to work with traditional leaders

Senior Chief Shakumbila’s greets Connect Africa Special Projects Director Dion Jerling at the Ikubi-Lya-loongo ceremony on Saturday July 27th.

Senior Chief Shakumbila’s greets Connect Africa Special Projects Director Dion Jerling at the Ikubi-Lya-loongo ceremony on Saturday July 27th.

Zambian rural telecommunications and service solutions company Connect Africa has paid tribute to the nation’s traditional leaders and their role in promoting rural development.

The contribution of chiefs to enhancing the livelihoods of rural people was praised during the Ikubi-Lya-loongo ceremony in Senior Chief Shakumbila’s chiefdom in Mumbwa District, which was held on Saturday July 27 near Connect Africa’s innovative low-cost pilot telecommunications base station.

“Traditional leaders play a pivotal role the well-being and prosperity of communities, particularly in remote areas, and their strong leadership can help their people to be part of the global village,” said Connect Africa Special Projects Director Dion Jerling. “We are honoured to be working alongside Senior Chief Shakumbila to bring connectivity to his people.”

Chief Shakumbila receives a smart phone from Connect Africa Regional Co-ordinator Lloyd Kubulwebulwe

Chief Shakumbila receives a smart phone from Connect Africa Regional Co-ordinator Lloyd Kubulwebulwe

Connect Africa Regional Co-ordinator Lloyd Kubulwebulwe presented the Chief with a smart phone, and thanked His Royal Highness for welcoming the company.  He told assembled dignitaries and residents: “I am privileged to announce that Connect Africa has successfully deployed a solution in Senior Chief Shakumbila’s area and this has been a very important solution for rural connectivity.”

The company’s pilot base station features Connect Africa’s pioneering “low tower, low power” technology as well as an integrated service centre run by local entrepreneurs to provide added value services such as mobile money, talktime and phone charging facilities to local people. The plan is to build those services further to enable internet connectivity and a channel through which multiple public and private sector services such as e-learning, e-government, e-health, banking, insurance and agriculture support services can be provided.

Connect Africa is using Zambia as its hub, from where it plans to launch its low-cost entrepreneur-driven information and communications technology (ICT) services to rural communities across the region.

The company is aiming to connect rural communities to existing mobile networks through the deployment of innovative low-cost base stations that enable rural communities to share in the mobile boom that is sweeping through Africa.

Connect Africa harnesses Africa’s entrepreneurial spirit and recent innovations in GSM technology and site infrastructure to enable rural people and rural communities across Africa to improve their quality of life and economic well-being.

Delivery of education, agriculture and health services, along with other public and private sector services to rural communities, will be enhanced by the new connectivity, which uses pioneering “low tower, low power” technology. This, combined with the Connect Africa Service Centre concept, will create jobs and enhance rural communities as well as providing a tool for government to gather feedback on the effectiveness of its services.

The strategy is part of Connect Africa’s “impact enterprise” model that aims to leverage innovative communication technologies for socio-economic development across Africa and beyond.

Key to the model are sustainable service centres at each base station, run by local entrepreneurs who are able to provide services such as internet access, phone charging and business services to the community.

A mother and child in Chief Shakumbila's Chiefdom with Connect Africa's pilot low-cost base station

A mother and child in Chief Shakumbila’s Chiefdom with Connect Africa’s pilot low-cost base station

The low-cost base station technology enables Connect Africa to offer mobile network operators a zero capital expenditure, zero operational expenditure business model for rural service delivery based on a revenue-sharing model.

This innovative approach to rural service delivery will ensure that rural communities can finally enjoy the benefits of universal access.


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