PRETORIA – 10TH JANUARY, 2016 – THE Zambian High Commission in South Africa has opened discussions with a South African based company which will see the provision of free Wi-Fi-Fi facilities in various open public spaces in Zambia.
A team of top executives and technocrats from the South African company, Davhuli Mfumo Technologies (Pty) Limited, will arrive in Zambia tomorrow, 11th January, 2016, for meetings with the Ministry of Local Government and Housing on Tuesday 12th, Lusaka City Council on Wednesday 13th, and ZAMTEL on Thursday 14th January. Other meetings with Special Assistant to the President for Project Monitoring and Implementation, Mr. Lucky Mulusa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Zambia Information and Telecommunication Authority are yet to be confirmed.
The team will conduct site visits to possible open public places such as parks, hospitals, clinics, University of Zambia and bus stations before holding another meeting with management at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka on Friday, 15th January.
Those in the delegation are Company Chief Executive Officer Nkateko Khoza, Chief Operating Officer Tebogo Rauwane, Director of Corporate Affairs Glen Mabunda, Special Projects Director Gugulethu Gwamanda, Financial Director Francois Verster and Technical Manager Andries Raaths. They will be accompanied by First Secretary for Economic and Trade at the Zambian Mission in Pretoria, Mr. Mande Kauseni.
Wi-fi is a facility allowing computers, smartphones, or other devices to connect to the Internet or communicate with one another wirelessly within a particular area.
Mr. Nkateko Khoza disclosed during a meeting with Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa His Excellency Mr. Emmanuel Mwamba that the first phase of the project, dubbed ‘Zambia Connected – Free Wi-Fi’, will be in the form of a field study which will be conducted by a team of technical experts.
Mr. Khoza said the purpose of the visit will be to ascertain the technical requirements of installing Wi-Fi in the identified sites of Lusaka, Kitwe and Ndola.
Mr. Mwamba, who hailed the project said access to the internet will bridge the digital divide, allow for 21st Century blended learning, improve communication and in so doing stimulate job creation in various sectors.
He pointed out that Zambia can also boost its reputation as a preferred tourism destination by deploying free Wi-Fi at key tourism sites, thereby attracting more visitors whilst raising the visibility of such sites globally.
The High Commissioner further noted that the impact of this project had the potential to change the trajectory of Zambia’s youth, building the leaders of tomorrow and encouraging them to become citizens of the world.
And Mr. Khoza said once the field study has been conducted and materials ordered to the specification designed by the experts, a training centre will be established to prepare and up skill locals on how the installation will work after which installation of the Wi-Fi will begin in all three cities.
“Upon Commissioning of the project, a training centre will be established. The training centre will equip locals with the skills to install and maintain the project. Once material has been delivered the rollout of the project will begin with locals at the fore. Upon completion of the project, Cooperatives will then be created and formalised among the trained candidates. The cooperatives will be tasked with the maintenance of the project,” Mr. Khoza explained.
The company estimates the total implementation period to be 223 days.
Mr. Khoza said although the cost of the installation of the project will rest with the selected municipalities, the maintenance cost of the project could be cut down drastically through the employment of various funding models such as the establishment of a Business Directory which local businesses would subscribe to, to get their business listed at a monthly cost to the business. The second option would be live adverts on the landing page which could be a lucrative revenue stream towards the maintenance cost of the project.
He cited Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, which is South Africa’s first Aerotropolis, located in the country’s economic hub of Gauteng, as one of the first to boast free Wi-Fi connectivity.
“It is imperative to note that Ekurhuleni going online means a lot more for the African continent, international trade, and its citizens; this is because South Africa’s O.R. Tambo International Airport is the logistical hub of Africa. “
Ekurhuleni went live officially, on the 19th of November 2015.
“Tshwane or Pretoria Metropolitan Municipality has made very progressive strides where free public access internet is concerned. Under the leadership of the Executive Mayor, the City saw the free Wi-Fi project record over one million users by November of 2015. Tshwane Wi-Fi is accessible from a number of sites in and around the city but more excitingly, on city busses for commuters to utilise during their trips,” Mr. Khoza said.
HIGH COMMISSION OF ZAMBIA IN SOUTH AFRICA