Technology insights from Todd Ashton, Vice-President and Head of South and East Africa, Ericsson Middle East and Africa

Q. Could you describe the role of connectivity, specifically 5G, in helping industries across Kenya to maximise efficiencies?

Connectivity, particularly the emergence of 5G technology, holds potential to play a pivotal role in driving efficiencies across diverse industries in Kenya. In agriculture, 5G-powered Internet of Things (IoT) devices enable real-time monitoring of crop conditions, facilitating data-driven decisions that optimise resource usage and increase productivity.

Healthcare benefits from 5G-enabled telemedicine include remote consultations and diagnostics, with minimal latency, thereby improving healthcare access. Adoption of 5G can enhance financial services, public administration, and tourism by facilitating secure and fast digital transactions and streamlined government services.

Serving as a catalyst for innovation and growth across industries, 5G technology will drive technological advancement and economic prosperity in Kenya.

Q. How has Ericsson’s Graduate Programme in Kenya played a role in enhancing the technical skills and fostering the innovative potential of the participating graduates?

Ericsson's Graduate Programme in Kenya has been designed to maximise the potential of young talents by providing them with hands-on training in Ericsson’s technology, solutions, and delivery processes.

One of the primary ways in which this programme has contributed to the development of technical skills among graduates is through its carefully curated and robust training modules. Being a global leader in telecommunications, we leverage our expertise and resources to impart cutting-edge technical knowledge to these young talents. Through a combination of classroom sessions, hands-on workshops, and real-world project assignments, the graduates are exposed to a diverse range of technical disciplines, including telecommunications networks, cloud technologies, IoT, 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), and much more.

By exposing these graduates to multi-country projects and exciting technologies, the programme prepares them to become future leaders and innovators in Kenya’s technology sector.

Q. Could you elaborate on how Ericsson is harnessing technological innovations to reduce network energy consumption and advocate for sustainable practices across Africa?

We believe that ICT plays a crucial role in achieving climate targets in sub-Saharan Africa. Our research indicates that ICT solutions have the potential to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by up to 15 percent by 2030. As part of our sustainability drive, we are committed to achieving Net Zero emission status across our value chain by 2040. We aim to cut emissions by 50 percent in the supply chain and portfolio by 2030.

Additionally, we have introduced solutions that allow operator networks to use as little energy as possible while handling the growth in data traffic and supporting 5G networks. One such notable achievement is the launch of our three-sector dual-band Radio 6626, an advanced radio technology that brings tangible benefits, such as minimising power consumption by up to 50 percent and reducing the weight on the tower. This radio has been successfully deployed in over 20 countries in Africa, contributing to the growth of 4G availability and laying the foundation for 5G introduction.

Our approach focuses on sustainable network evolution, effective modernisation of existing networks, and leveraging AI, Machine Learning (ML), and automation, to improve energy efficiency.

Q. What are the key opportunities digitisation will bring to Kenya?

Digitisation holds tremendous potential to bridge Kenya’s digital divide and drive positive transformation across various sectors in the country. It offers Kenya a pathway to economic diversification, improved public services, and enhanced quality of life. By embracing advanced technologies like 5G, IoT, AI, and cloud computing, Kenya can unlock a multitude of opportunities for growth and development.

Enterprises in Kenya investing in digitisation and automation strategies can enhance productivity and resilience, especially in the face of challenges like energy prices and supply chain disruptions.

Digitisation can empower local entrepreneurs through e-commerce platforms, stimulate innovation, and contribute to sustainable economic development. With modern networks like 5G, wireless connectivity can reach remote regions in Kenya, facilitating emergency services, healthcare, and education.

Digitisation  also opens opportunities for Kenya to address climate change and support its commitment to abate greenhouse gasses by 32 percent by 2030.

Q. Looking ahead, what are Ericsson's aspirations for Africa?

Ericsson's ambitions for Africa are deeply rooted in our commitment to set “Africa in motion”, a campaign focused on supporting the continent’s digitisation  and economic development. We envision a future where mobile broadband connectivity continues to expand, driving digital transformation and sustainable growth. As more people in Africa gain access to mobile broadband, we expect to see an exponential increase in data traffic, creating new opportunities for innovation and economic empowerment.

By collaborating with governments, private sectors, and other stakeholders, we aim to accelerate digitisation efforts and contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa.

We will continue to invest in nurturing local talent through initiatives like the Graduate Programme, enabling young graduates to engage with cutting-edge technologies and become future leaders and innovators in the ICT field.

We will also focus on reducing energy consumption, bridging the digital divide and promoting financial inclusion through initiatives like Connect To Learn and Mobile Money solutions such as the Ericsson Wallet Platform.