TEL AVIV, January 30, 2021 – IMPROVATE, which connects between Israeli technology companies and governments, held its Communication Africa 2021 conference in collaboration with Spacecom, a satellite communication provider, the owners and operators of the Amos satellites fleet. Spacecom specializes in advanced communication solutions and provides a wide range of satellite-based communication services throughout Africa, the Middle-east and Europe.
The goal of the conference was to create a dialogue with African decision makers, to hear from them about the challenges they face, and to present to them the advanced communications technologies and services deployed by Spacecom throughout the African continent via the most advanced satellite serving Africa – Amos 17.
The conference heard from government ministers and senior officials about the significant challenges faced by African nations in deploying nationwide government services and the importance of communications networks and connectivity as an enabler. All agree that terrestrial solutions are implemented but in many cases are not feasible today and in the coming years.
The new services presented by Spacecom meet all the needs raised by the participants and provide African countries with full internet and communications coverage, enabling acceleration of state development, and improving services provided to citizens in all fields of life: health, education, homeland security, agriculture, employment and more, regardless of their location in the country.
As the conference heard, one of the main problems faced by Africa is that communications infrastructures in African countries do not allow for the provision of digital services outside of major urban areas and that costs of communications are prohibitive. Spacecom CEO Mr. Dan Zajicek unveiled at the conference two new advanced services for states, the NationSAT and the DCP (Digital Community Platform) which are based on the exclusive capabilities of the Amos-17 satellite and provide most sub-Saharan African countries with complete nationwide coverage, irrespective of location, and financing models that enable the immediate and long-term provision of services.
Keynote speaker, the Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, Executive Chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and former Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, said that properly deployed satellite communication can be absolutely transformative for Africa. “I think that there will be enormous interest in Africa in how this satellite technology can help with connectivity and communication.” Blair said that Africa provides huge opportunities for the Israeli tech sector, “It is an opportunity for Israel to showcase what it can do, but it's also an immense opportunity to build strong businesses that have a customer base that could allow those Israeli companies to become global, and as well as doing good for the companies themselves, to do good for the world.”
IMPROVATE Founder and chair Irina Nevzlin told the conference that “advanced communications solutions such as those presented by Spacecom, together with new satellite technologies, such as the Amos-17 satellite, allow countries with large land areas to get connected in ways which would not be possible with conventional grids. As we know, with this new way of communication comes connectivity, and with connectivity comes opportunity. Our goal at IMPROVATE is to help companies turn opportunity into reality.”
Participating in the conference were ministers, deputy minister, directors general of government ministries, regulators, senior executives from the African space industry, ambassadors and investors from a number of African countries, including Mali, Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania and South Sudan. On the Israeli side, the conference was attended by the senior management of Spacecom, headed by its CEO, Mr. Dan Zajicek, as well as the former minister of communications, MK Yoaz Hendel; former minister of science, Yizhar Shai, and business partners of Spacecom, headed by Mr. Yariv Cohen, CEO of Ignite Power, and Mr Aviv Ronai, VP Marketing & Product at NovelSat; alongside representatives of Bank Leumi, which finances and accompanies communications projects in Africa.
Spacecom CEO Mr. Dan Zajicek said: “The communications that we provide are the broadest foundation for the development and progress of African nations. Spacecom has set a goal that every person in Africa will be able to connect to the internet and benefit from government services. We have made investments and we have deployed infrastructure; we have changed the equation. The challenge now is not necessarily a technological one but is also a question of decision making.”
Ignite Power is the fastest growing Pan-African developer of infrastructure projects. CEO Mr. Yariv Cohen told the conference that satellite connectivity and solar power are the future of health and education in Africa. “Most education will move online and the same goes for medicine. We see a situation today where there are thousands of clinics across Africa without medical equipment and without access to advanced medical solutions. Satellite connectivity can change that.”
Mr. Aviv Ronai. VP Marketing & Product at NovelSat, which provides content connectivity solutions for video broadcast and broadband connectivity, said: “Connectivity is essential to remote areas and is an enabler of social growth throughout Africa. Satellite is the only thing that can provide s connectivity over such large areas.”
Mr. Arie Sznaj Head of International Finance, Bank Leumi, said the bank has been active in structured export finance for over 30 years, and has acquired significant experience in the field. He added that Leumi has seen a major shift of projects it finances toward Africa over the past decade. “We believe that satellite telecom and internet services will encourage the development of human capital and economic growth in countries where satellite connections are implemented. Leumi as a financial institution sees great importance in assisting its clients in these fields.”
IMPROVATE CEO Ms. Ronit Hassin Hochman: “There is nowhere where Israeli innovation stands out more than in space and the value it adds on the ground. Israel's contribution to space exploration and satellite communications is enormous. The Amos satellite fleet paints the globe blue and white and now enables African countries as well to benefit from advanced communications that improve all areas of life. IMPROVATE is proud to help bring space technologies to Africa.”
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