As part of its strategy to diversify the economy, the Angolan Ministry of Science and Technology recently hosted an event to highlight the important role that science, technology and education play in driving socio-economic development. Entitled ‘Future Forum’ , the inaugural event featured decision makers from the public, private and social impact sectors from Angola, South Africa, Mozambique, Portugal, Kenya and Rwanda.

“Angola is fast becoming the epicentre of telecommunications in southern Africa and a facilitator of international collaboration in the areas of education and scientific research,” said Antonio Nunes, CEO of Angola Cables, a multinational telecommunications company. “With one of the largest data centres in Africa we are seeing a rapidly increasing need for data storage and content delivery.”

 

Focused on 2018

A massive improvement in connectivity between Africa and the Americas is expected by next year. Angola Cables is currently overseeing three multimillion dollar projects to lay fibre optic cables between Angola, Brazil and the United States, including the establishment of cable stations (data centres).

According to Nunes: “The cable is now installed and placed in the water between Brazil and the United States, and submarine cable stations are currently being completed in Santos (Brazil) and Miami (United States).”

Angola’s oil sector accounts for about half of the country’s GDP, and the vast majority of its export and government revenues. Intent on diversifying the economy, the Angolan government sees numerous opportunities in the ICT sector.

“Technological progress and innovation play an important role in improving African societies, said xxx. “Future Forum is about bringing together stakeholders to realize the opportunities that the ICT industries offer them, from improving efficiencies to fostering collaboration to creating more effective organisations.”

 

Education and research collaboration

Four major education, research and innovation bodies — the Latin American Cooperation of Advanced Networks (CLARA); UBUNTnet, a regional association of National Research and Education Networks in southern Africa; (RNP) the Brazilian Education and Research Network; and the Mozambique Research and Education Network (MoRENet) — took part in Future Forum.

According to Pascal Hoba, CEO of UBUNTnet: “Fostering science, education and research through collaborative networks is the critical to finding solutions to local problems.”

Held at the headquarters of Angolan bank Banco Económico, government representatives included Celso Laice, Secretary of State of Mozambique; Manuel Heitor, Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education (The Republic of Portugal); and Cândida Teixeira, the Angolan Minister of Science and Technology. Participants from the private sector included representatives from African Development Bank and the Development Bank of Angola.