The Angolan government organised the ANGOTIC 2023 conference, an International Forum of Information and Communication Technologies of Angola, in collaboration with the Ministry of Telecommunications, Information Technologies, and Social Communication. This three-day event, held from June 12th to June 14th, 2023, served as a platform for discussing and addressing the pressing global and future challenges related to Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The conference aimed to foster knowledge exchange, facilitate networking among government entities, exhibitors, and experts, and showcase the latest innovations and trends in the ICT sector.
Additionally, the conference offered diverse sessions to ensure a comprehensive and immersive experience for all participants. The programme comprised two panel sessions, 33 parallel sessions, a high-level luncheon conference, three master classes, exhibitions, and a specialised course dedicated to Angolan universities. Notably, during the conference, a course focused on designing, constructing, and launching small satellites was explicitly conducted for Angolan universities to enhance their expertise in this field.
The conference was attended by top-level government officials João Lourenço, the President of Angola, Maria Oliveria, the Minister of Telecommunications, Information Technologies, and Social Communications, along with the Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Information Technologies of Angola, Zimbabwe, and the Governor of Luanda. In addition, there were Ministers, including the Ministers of Science and Technology from Zambia and the Deputy Minister of Namibia.
The first day began with a welcoming address delivered by Mário Oliveira, the Minister of Telecommunications. Following that, João Lourenço, the President of Angola, gave an opening speech that officially marked the commencement of the ANGOTIC 2023 conference.
During his speech, the President emphasised the significance of information technology and broadband networks in driving economic progress and facilitating the country’s diversification into various sectors for overall development. These sectors include telemedicine, distance learning, electronic services, and other related services. The President also highlighted the collaborative efforts between Angola and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to bridge the digital divide and promote inclusivity. In addition, the President stated that UNESCO and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) recognised Angola’s commendable progress in achieving digital inclusivity, placing the country among the leading nations close to reaching a globally established digital economy.
“UNESCO has played a significant role in the development of Angola, particularly in terms of infrastructure expansion and the establishment of the Telecommunications White Paper in 2019 and 2020. The country’s telecommunications sector has made remarkable advancements in completing various projects and fostering ongoing technical preparations. These achievements include the successful launch and construction of an earth observation satellite, AngoSat-2, the implementation of fibre optic terrestrial and underwater connections in Cabinda, the terrestrial digital television project, participation in an international fibre optic submarine cable consortium, and numerous capacity-building programmes. Furthermore, between 2021 and the first quarter of 2023, Angola witnessed a substantial 55% increase in mobile services and achieved a penetration rate of 71%. These figures represent a growth rate of 49.5% and a 20% increase in internet access. Moreover, satellite imagery has been effectively utilised to support various sectors such as agriculture, oil and gas, and mining industry land use and to provide solutions for addressing challenges like drought in the country’’, concluded President João Lourenço.
On the sidelines of the event, Angola and Zambia, represented by Mário de Oliveira and Felix Mutati, the Zambian Minister of Science and Technology, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU). This MoU aimed to foster collaboration between the two countries and facilitate the enhancement of regulatory frameworks within the Angolan and Zambian telecommunications markets. The partnership is expected to result in improved operational structures for telecom operators, leading to enhanced ICT services coverage and quality in both nations.
Technological Modernisation and Connectivity
The planetary session at the conference included several notable individuals, such as Engineer Mário Oliveira, the Minister of Telecommunications, Information Technologies, and Social Communication; Dr Ann Rita Ssemboga, the Representative of the ITU Regional Office for Southern Africa; Dr Felix C. Mutati, the Minister of Science and Technology of Zambia; and Emma Theofelus, the Deputy Minister of ICT of Namibia.
Eng. Mário Oliveira, the Minister of Telecommunications, Information Technologies, and Social Communication, emphasised the importance of collaboration between the private and public sectors in driving connectivity growth in Angola. While Angola is not yet considered a fully digitalised country, there is significant potential for growth in sectors such as agriculture, education, and telemedicine. Eng. Mário Oliveira believes the synergy between the private and public sectors will facilitate this growth.
Dr Felix C. Mutati, the Minister of Science and Technology of Zambia, highlighted the significance of the MoU signed between Angola and Zambia, particularly in connecting the countries’ optical fibre networks. This collaboration aims to position both countries as central players in establishing connectivity across the board and within the Southern region of Africa. Furthermore, Zambia has plans to become the digital hub of the region by investing in digital infrastructure, affordable services and driving inclusive development. The Minister also mentioned that on June 24th, 2023, the President of Zambia would inaugurate the connectivity of 100,300 schools through optical fibre, to address digital literacy in collaboration with the private sector. Additionally, Zambia plans to invest in 300 towers this year as part of its telecommunications sector investment strategy.
Emma Theofelus, the Deputy Minister of ICT of Namibia, highlighted the efforts of Namibia to improve connectivity growth through policies, projects, and digital regulations. However, the country faces challenges in connecting its remote regions. The continent is also focusing on other means to strengthen its digital capabilities, such as providing affordable prices for smartphones and data.
Dr Ann Rita Ssemboga, the Representative of the ITU Regional Office for Southern Africa, expressed appreciation for the progress achieved thus far in Africa’s telecommunications sector, as mentioned by the other panellists. However, she emphasised the need for national agencies to collaborate and involve the youth and other governmental entities in relevant discussions, even at the regional level. For his part, Mr Jeffrey, the Representative of the National Expansion Council of the White House, mentioned the United States of America’s support and efforts in fostering Angola’s space projects. He highlighted the provision of free satellite data by the United States to all African countries to meet their needs.
Space Industry and Trends
The second panel, titled “Space Industry and Trends,” was moderated by Doctor Zolana Rui João, the Director of the National Space Programme Management Office (GGPEN). The focus of this session was to discuss how the space industry and emerging trends are shaping African space programmes. The panel aimed to explore space technology’s various benefits and applications in fostering socioeconomic growth on the continent and provide recommendations for further advancements.
Temidayo Oniosun, the Managing Director of Space In Africa, shared insights on the African Union’s perspective regarding space programmes and the continent’s aspirations in this field. He discussed the importance of collaboration among African nations and the need for a unified approach to maximise the benefits of space technology. Mr Ntoshane Mohlamonyane, provided valuable expertise on the current state and prospects of the African space industry. He highlighted SANSA’s significant role in driving space-related research, development, and African applications. Dr Camille Wardrop shared insights on the foundation’s efforts to promote space education and engagement among African youth. She emphasised the importance of nurturing the next generation of space scientists, engineers, and innovators. Dr Vilkov discussed the latest trends and advancements in space technology, including satellite development, launch systems, and space-based applications. In addition, he highlighted potential areas for collaboration and knowledge exchange between Africa and established space organisations. Andrei Alekhin shared insights on potential partnerships and cooperation opportunities between Glavcosmos and African nations in space-related endeavours. Alekhin emphasised the mutual benefits that can arise from knowledge sharing, capacity building, and joint space missions.
Overall, the panel discussions delved into the transformative potential of space technology for Africa, including applications in telecommunications, agriculture, climate monitoring, disaster management, and resource mapping. The speakers highlighted the importance of continued investment in space infrastructure, research, and human capital development to ensure sustainable socioeconomic growth in the region. The panel concluded with recommendations on fostering international collaborations, encouraging youth participation in space science, and establishing robust policies and regulatory frameworks to support the African space industry.
African Space Strategy
Doctor Zolana Rui João, the Director of the National Space Program Management Office (GGPEN), served as the moderator for the session on the African Space Strategy. The session focused on discussing the growth and development of space programmes across the continent. The participants explored the utilisation of the African Outer Space Strategy Framework as a guiding framework for advancing space programs in Africa. Furthermore, they recommended strategic areas that Angola and the broader African region should prioritise in their space endeavours.
Professor Tidiane Ouattara, represented by Temidayo Oniosun, representing the African Union Commission (AUC), shared insights on the importance of the African Space Strategy and its role in fostering coordination and collaboration among African nations. Temidayo Oniosun discussed the strategic objectives outlined in the African Outer Space Strategy Framework, emphasising the need for regional integration and partnerships to maximise the potential benefits of space technology for the continent. Dr Mirien Slimani, the Standardisation and Development Coordinator at the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), provided valuable input on standardisation efforts within the African space industry. Dr Slimani highlighted the significance of establishing harmonised regulations and standards to ensure compatibility and interoperability across various African space programmes. He said this approach would facilitate cooperation and information sharing among nations.
The panellists also emphasised aligning national and regional strategies with the African Space Strategy Framework to create a unified and coherent approach to space programs. It also underlined the need to prioritise strategic areas such as satellite technology development, Earth observation, telecommunications, and capacity building in the space sector. The speakers emphasised the role of international partnerships and cooperation in advancing Africa’s space capabilities and leveraging the benefits of space technology for socioeconomic development.
Benefits of Space Applications in the Health and Education Sector
Dr Jean Luis Beean, representing Airbus, served as the moderator for this session, which focused on exploring the benefits of space applications in the health and education sectors. The session featured speakers, including Dr Danielle Wood, MIT; Doctor Smita Francis, Namibia University of Science and Technology; Doctor Laurent Frech, Airbus; and Ms Beza Tesfaye Zewdie, Former Director of the Ethiopian Space Science Society.
Dr Wood, known for her expertise in space technology and development, shared insights on how space applications can positively impact the health and education sectors. Her contributions revolved around leveraging satellite technology for telemedicine, remote diagnostics, and tele-education to enhance healthcare delivery and educational opportunities in remote and underserved areas. For her part, Dr Francis, representing the Namibia University of Science and Technology, highlighted the potential of space applications in addressing healthcare and educational challenges in Namibia. Her contributions focused on how satellite data can assist in tracking disease outbreaks, monitoring environmental factors, and improving access to quality education through distance learning initiatives.
Dr Frech discussed the various space-based technologies and solutions developed by Airbus that have practical applications in the health and education sectors. His contributions centred around using Earth observation satellites, communication satellites, and navigation systems to improve healthcare services and educational resources in remote and under-resourced regions. Ms Zewdie shared her experiences and insights on how space applications have been utilised in Ethiopia to address health and education challenges. Her contributions focused on initiatives such as using satellite imagery for monitoring agricultural practices, enhancing food security, and utilising satellite-based communication systems to bridge educational gaps.
Overall, the speakers highlighted the potential of space applications in the health and education sectors, particularly in resource-constrained areas. By leveraging satellite technology, remote sensing data, and communication systems, these sectors can benefit from improved healthcare services, telemedicine, disease tracking, environmental monitoring, and enhanced educational opportunities.
Technological Applications for Developing Agriculture
Professor Sias Mostert, Aerospace Group, moderated this session and stood in for Temidayo Oniosun, Managing Director of Space in Africa. Other speakers included Dr Leonardo Luciano de Almeida Maia, INATEL; Doctor Willian Jammes de Oliveira, TISTECH; Doctor Nikita Prokofiev GEOSCAN, Head of the Department of Digital Agriculture and Data; Doctor Mikhail Tiounine, General Manager of Alfa Sementeira Limitada, Specialist in Digital Agriculture. The session highlighted the applications of space technologies/GIS in increasing agricultural productivity and assisting small agricultural businesses.
The panel comprised esteemed speakers who shared their expertise in leveraging space technologies and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to enhance agricultural productivity and support small businesses. For instance, Dr Maia discussed the applications of space technologies and GIS in agriculture, focusing on how satellite data and spatial analysis can improve crop monitoring, precision farming, and land management practices. His contributions shed light on how these technologies can increase productivity and sustainability in the agricultural sector. Oliveira’s contributions centred around the use of technology solutions for agricultural development. He may have discussed innovative approaches such as remote sensing, drones, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices for monitoring crop health, optimising irrigation, and improving pest management practices. He also highlighted the role of technology in driving efficiency and profitability for small agricultural businesses.
Dr Prokofiev’s expertise focused on the utilisation of digital agriculture solutions. His contributions explored integrating satellite data, GIS, and machine learning techniques for yield prediction, soil mapping, and farm management optimisation. Furthermore, his insights emphasised the transformative potential of digital technologies in increasing agricultural productivity. Dr Tiounine shared examples of successful case studies and real-world applications of space technologies and GIS in improving agricultural practices, highlighting the tangible benefits of adopting digital agriculture approaches for small agricultural businesses.
The speakers explored the intersection of space technologies, GIS, and digital solutions to revolutionising the agricultural sector. The discussions covered crop monitoring, precision farming, data-driven decision-making, and sustainable practices. By leveraging these technologies, agricultural stakeholders can enhance productivity, optimise resource utilisation, and support the growth of small farm businesses.
Bridging the Gender Gap to Ensure Girls and Women’s Involvement in Technology
This session was moderated by Doctor Cândida da Costa, Coordinator of Communication and Management of Programmes and Information at ReMA. This session also featured Dr Mwanahamisi Masoud Mtandika, Huawei; Emma Theofelus, Deputy Minister of ICT of Namibia; Dr Bridget Lizie, Executive Secretary of CRASA; and Dr Smita Francis, Namibia University of Science and Technology, as speakers.
The session focused on building women-centric applications, policies and the need to install women in leadership positions. In addition, the speakers explored several effective models of raising awareness about the gender gap in the technology sector and discussed strategies to overcome this disparity. Their discussions covered the importance of education, mentorship, and leadership opportunities for women and the need to develop women-centric applications and inclusive policies within the industry. In addition, the speakers highlighted the significance of empowering and involving girls and women in technology to foster diversity, innovation, and social progress, emphasising the need for collaborative efforts from various stakeholders to create an inclusive and gender-equal technology ecosystem.
The Impact of ICT on Tourism Development
Eng Osvaldo de Jesus, the CEO of ProjeKtus, moderated this session. The session featured speakers, including Lourenço Gaspar, Head of Training Department; Mr Hani Khalaf, CTO of Dell Technologies; Dr Jessie Madalena, Digital Influencer; and Doctor Sias Mostert, Aerospace Group.
The session explored the transformative effects of ICT on the tourism sector and discussed strategies to leverage technology for sustainable tourism development, covering topics such as digital marketing, intelligent destination management, personalised experiences, data-driven decision-making, and the importance of collaboration between the ICT and tourism sectors. In addition, the speakers highlighted the significant role of ICT in shaping the future of tourism, improving visitor experiences, and driving economic growth. The session emphasised the need for tourism stakeholders to embrace technological innovations and leverage them effectively to enhance competitiveness, sustainability, and inclusivity in the tourism industry.
Strategic Plan for the Telecommunications, Information Technologies and Social Communication Sector
This session featured two speakers, Engineer Pascoal Alé Borges Fernandes, Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Information Technologies and Doctor Nuno dos Anjos Caldas Albino, Secretary of State for Social Communication.
Engineer Fernandes discussed the strategic initiatives and plans to foster the development and growth of the telecommunications and information technologies sector. His contributions may have focused on critical areas such as infrastructure expansion, digital connectivity, broadband penetration, and the promotion of innovative technologies. He may have also highlighted the importance of policy frameworks, regulatory measures, and public-private partnerships in achieving the sector’s goals. For his part, Dr Albino shared insights on the strategic plan for the social communication sector, including promoting media literacy, access to information, and the role of digital platforms in enabling communication and engagement. His contributions may have revolved around initiatives to enhance media diversity, freedom of expression, and technology for effective communication and public participation. He may have also discussed the importance of responsible and ethical communication practices in the digital age.
The session provided an overview of the strategic vision and goals for the telecommunications, information technologies, and social communication sectors, discussing topics such as digital inclusion, connectivity for underserved areas, digital skills development, media regulation, and the use of technology for social development and citizen engagement. Also, the speakers highlighted the importance of a comprehensive and forward-thinking strategic plan to guide the growth and development of the telecommunications, information technologies, and social communication sectors. They emphasised the need for collaboration, innovation, and adaptability to harness the full potential of technology in driving socioeconomic progress and fostering inclusive communication networks.
Policy and Regulation of ICT in Space
This session was moderated by Ikiuma Bamba, Director of CFOJOR, and featured Doctor Joaquim Muhongo, the Chairman of INACOM; Doctor Ousmnane Nasr Diallo, NASA; Andrei Alekhin, Glavcosmos and Dr Tidiane Outtara, ably represented by Temidayo oniosun.
Dr Muhongo discussed the role of policy and regulation in governing ICT activities within the country and focused on spectrum management, licensing frameworks, cybersecurity, data protection, and fostering a conducive business environment for ICT companies. He also highlighted the importance of collaboration with international organisations and adherence to global best practices in ICT regulation. Dr Diallo provided insights into space activities’ policy and regulatory aspects, particularly in partnership with NASA. His contributions revolved around space exploration, satellite deployments, space research, and the legal frameworks governing space missions. In addition, Dr Diallo discussed the importance of international cooperation, space debris management, and adherence to international treaties and agreements in space exploration and utilisation.
Andrei shared his expertise on the policy and regulation of space activities from the perspective of Glavcosmos, a Russian space agency. His contributions focused on commercial space launches, satellite Communications, space industry regulations, and international partnerships in space exploration. Furthermore, he discussed the role of policy frameworks in enabling the commercialisation of space and fostering international cooperation in space-related ventures. Temidayo Onisoun provided insights into the policy and regulatory landscape of ICT and space within the Africa space ecosystem, focusing on regional initiatives, harmonisation of policies, cross-border collaborations, and leveraging space technology for socioeconomic development. Also, he discussed the importance of aligning national policies with regional and continental frameworks to promote cooperation and maximise the benefits of ICT and space technologies.
The speakers provided an overview of ICT and space activities’ policy and regulatory aspects. The discussions likely covered legal frameworks, licensing procedures, international collaborations, spectrum management, privacy and security, and the need for coordinated efforts among stakeholders to ensure responsible and sustainable ICT and space practices.
Transforming Startups for Today’s Challenges
This session was moderated by Dr Henrique Ngolome, Director of the Center for Social Innovation and Incubation at the Catholic University of Angola. The session had Dr Mwanahamisi Masoud Mtandika, Director of Public Relations at Huawei Angola Rep Office; Dr José Maura, Administrator for the Technological and Innovation Area at Equilibrium; and Dr Joel Guilherme Mendes Muxinda, President of the Angolan Association of Inventors and Innovators as speakers.
The speakers provided guidance and practical insights for startups facing the challenges of today’s dynamic business landscape. The discussions likely covered digital transformation, innovation strategies, market opportunities, access to funding, networking, and mentorship. The speakers emphasised the importance of agility, adaptability, and continuous learning in enabling startups to navigate challenges and seize growth opportunities. Also, the speakers highlighted the transformative potential of startups and provided valuable perspectives and strategies to help them overcome obstacles and thrive in today’s competitive business environment.
The final event of the conference featured a session on a course to be given to Angolan universities on the design, construction, and launch of small satellites. This session aimed to provide valuable knowledge and training opportunities to Angolan universities, empowering them to participate in space technology. The speakers for this session were Professor Robert Van Zil, AAC Space Africa and Professor Taiwo Tejumola, International Space University.
The speakers shared their expertise and insights on small satellite design, construction, and launch, including the technical aspects, including satellite components, subsystems, and systems engineering. Additionally, they emphasised the importance of capacity building in the space industry and the opportunities it presents for Angola. Professor Taiwo Tejumola discussed the importance of collaboration between universities and space organisations and the benefits of international partnerships and knowledge exchange. His contributions also focused on curriculum development, training methodologies, and industry best practices for teaching students about small satellite design and launch.
Generally, the session aimed to promote the development of the space industry in Angola by equipping universities with the necessary knowledge and resources to engage in satellite design and launch projects. The speakers shared their expertise and experiences, guiding small satellite missions’ technical, educational, and collaborative aspects. They highlighted the value of hands-on training, interdisciplinary approaches, and the importance of encouraging students to pursue careers in the space sector. In addition, this session aimed to inspire and empower Angolan universities to embrace space technology and develop their satellite design and launch capabilities. By providing access to specialised knowledge and educational opportunities, the session sought to contribute to the growth of the space industry in Angola and promote the country’s participation in the global space community.
Deborah loves reading and enjoys philosophical discussions.