One of the highlights of the Transform Africa Summit that came off from 26th to 28th April 2023 was the crowning of the winner of the Miss Geek Africa Competition. Miss Geek Africa is an innovation contest that was created to inspire girls and women between the ages of 13 and 25 to solve challenges in Africa using technology and to encourage them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). It was created as Miss Geek Rwanda in 2014 and was expanded to become Miss Geek Africa in 2017, accepting applications from 16 additional African countries. The competition has grown since then, with over 22 African countries participating each year.
Ms. Selasi Domi-Kuwornu, a 21-year-old final-year student at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, emerged as the ultimate winner of the keenly contested event, which took place in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, during the closing ceremony of the Transform Africa Summit 2023. Her project was judged based on the theme of the summit, “Connect, Innovate, Transform,” focusing on challenges that are unique to the African continent.
Selasi Domi-Kuwornu’s win at the Miss Geek Africa 2023 competition with her project, “Kasa-Cash”, is a testament to the power of technology in addressing the unique challenges faced by underserved and unserved communities. Her project is an offline system that enables people who are illiterate, physically challenged, or underserved to perform financial transactions without third-party assistance. This voice recognition application enables mobile money transactions in any language of choice by the user. The solution has the potential to make financial services more accessible to underserved communities and help to bridge the digital divide in Africa.
In an exciting development, on Friday, 16th June 2023, Ms. Selasi Domi-Kuwornu visited the offices of Ascend Digital Solutions Ltd. where she interacted with members of the senior management team. She was accompanied by her father Prosper Makadedzi Domi. She will be joining the Ascend Digital Solutions team in October 2023 as a National Service Personnel, working closely with our talented professionals and contributing her expertise towards accelerating Ghana and Africa’s digital transformation.
By recognizing the achievements of young women and providing them with the resources and opportunities to grow and develop, Ascend Digital is helping to bridge the gender gap in STEM fields. This also demonstrates our commitment to harnessing the skilled human resources in Africa and supporting young individuals, especially girls, with brilliant solutions to leapfrog Africa’s digital transformation.
Ascend Digital Solutions Ltd. hosted its inaugural webinar on May 25, 2023, delving into the transformative power of digital innovation in driving forward the African Union’s Agenda 2063. This virtual event, which was broadcast to a wide audience via YouTube and LinkedIn, brought together passionate participants from across Africa and beyond who are dedicated to propelling the continent’s growth through digital advancements.
At the core of the AU Agenda 2063 lies a strategic framework designed to unleash Africa’s socio-economic transformation, fostering an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful continent. By addressing key challenges such as economic development, social inclusion, infrastructure, regional integration, and good governance, this visionary blueprint aims to position Africa as a united, self-reliant, and globally competitive entity and transform the continent into an e-society.
Within this context, digital transformation emerges as a pivotal catalyst for realizing the agenda’s ambitious vision. The webinar underscored the profound shift in perception regarding connectivity, asLacina Konéhighlighted the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact, noting that connectivity has transformed from a luxury to an essential element in our everyday life, akin to water, electricity, and healthcare. It has therefore became apparent that digital transformation cannot be the sole mission of a single institution; it necessitates intentional private-public partnerships to bridge the connectivity usage gap. By leveraging collaborative expertise, resources, and infrastructure, these partnerships ensure equitable and affordable connectivity, leaving no one behind in the digital age.
Seyni Malan FATIhighlighted the need for governments and regulatory bodies to establish policies and frameworks that foster competition, innovation, and investment in digital infrastructure, laying the foundation for an enabling ecosystem. Through resource sharing, mutual support, and a unified approach, countries can collectively address common challenges, promoting an inclusive digital ecosystem across the continent.
As the webinar progressed, it became evident that Africa’s digital transformation required a mindset shift among its leaders.Harkirit Singh, therefore, stressed the need for constant connectivity, encouraging leaders to embrace a digital mindset that fosters collaboration and shared infrastructure.Prince Ofosu Sefahadded to this by emphasizing the significance of digital sovereignty, urging Africa to shift from being mere consumers of technology to becoming creators and innovators. This shift ensures Africa retains control over its data, enabling it to drive its own digital transformation.
Digital transformation transcends national boundaries, presenting both challenges and opportunities. To unlock Africa’s digital potential and realize the goals of the AU Agenda 2063, cross-border cooperation, capacity building, knowledge sharing, conducive policy frameworks, and private-public partnerships stand as crucial pillars. These collaborative efforts will propel Africa towards inclusive economic development and a digitally transformed future.
If you missed the webinar, you can watch the recording either onYouTubeorLinkedIn.
Ascend Digital Solutions Ltd envisions Africa to be the world’s digital playground. We are rapidly charting a path towards African digital sovereignty and forging partnerships that will transform the digital landscape across the continent. One of such partnerships is with Smart Africa Alliance where Ascend Digital Solutions signed up as the newest platinum member at the just ended 6th Transform Africa Summit. The summit was , held from 26th to 28th April in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and provided a platform for Ascend Digital Solutions to showcase its commitment to the theme of “Connect, Innovate, Transform.”
The Transform Africa Summit is Africa’s leading annual forum bringing together global and regional leaders from government, business, and international organizations to collaborate on new ways of shaping, accelerating, and sustaining Africa’s ongoing digital revolution.
Ascend Digital Solutions attended the pre-summit on 25th April, which was exclusive to platinum and gold delegates. The event discussed attracting investment for digital transformation in Africa, highlighting the importance of a multifaceted approach to create a favorable business environment, promoting digital skills development, and building digital infrastructure. This would accelerate the continent’s digital transformation and drive social and economic development.
The CEO of Ascend Digital, Harkirit Singh, participated in an interactive panel on “Realizing a one connected Africa”. The panel included Hon. Min. M. Yacine El Mahdi Oualid (Minister of Telecommunication in Algeria), FarganiTambeayuk (Head of Connectivity Policy for Africa at Meta), Never Ncube (Dandemutande CEO), Dr. Nomathemba Ndiweni (Pro-Vice Chancellor at Lupane State University), Kamal Tawama (Global System for Mobile Communications- GSMA), and a Delegate from the Estonia government.
The discussion highlighted the challenges and opportunities for achieving a connected Africa through digital solutions such as infrastructure development, digital literacy, and policy frameworks. Harkirit Singh emphasized the critical layers of digital transformation, including connectivity, computing, and collaboration. He also showcased the success of Ascend Digital Solutions in driving mobile broadband connectivity in Ghana through public-private collaboration.
One of such collaboration is the recent partnership between Ascend Digital Solutions Ltd and India Urban Data Exchange (IUDX) which was announced at the summit. This partnership will bring Federated Data Exchange to Africa and fast-track the realization of a connected Africa. Read more about it here. Ultimately, we are making strides in realizing a one-connected Africa. An Africa that is on the fast track to digital sovereignty.
Digital transformation is a process leading to strategic improvement in the government’s ability to deliver public services more effectively, using technology as a main enabler. In the context of Africa, the government can leverage this transformation as a way to gain digital sovereignty and accelerate progress in areas of ﬁnancial inclusion, social and cultural emancipation, education, healthcare, agriculture and many more.
The operationalization of the digitization effort relies on a framework, including the following components, to be successful: reliable digital infrastructure, interoperability platform, digital literacy, digital identiﬁcation, and digital innovation. Governments need partners that can act holistically along these pillars to help them achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In that context, Ascend Digital Solutions, an end-to-end network and IT system integrator, technology, and digital solutions provider working to create the digital future of Africa, and India Urban Data Exchange (IUDX), an open-source data exchange platform, today announced a strategic partnership to make path-breaking federated data exchange technology available for deployment across the African continent. This same technology has already been deployed in 35 Indian cities by India’s innovative Smart City Mission, under the auspices of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. This technology will contribute to Africa’s digital transformation by enabling important new initiatives such as those being driven by the Smart Africa Secretariat and Smart Africa Trust Alliance.
In regards to interoperability, this power to share data and to create powerful data driven solutions will help Africa leapfrog in smart governance, effective decision making and public service delivery. The technology provided by IUDX will enable intra- and inter-country data exchange with enhanced security features. Each member country can have its own instance of a data exchange setup and these can be federated into a single inter-country ecosystem. This federated architecture will be key to delivering value from various smart city initiatives across the continent. The initial solution being targeted for the new data exchange is Sim Card Registration. This solution will help to mitigate digital boundaries between countries and help citizens avail digital services even beyond their home countries. Ghana, Togo, Benin and Senegal are candidates for this federated data exchange solution. Other solutions that are actively being explored include solid waste management, personal mobility, citizen safety, and transit system management. These solutions, and many more, are already functional within the 35 Indian cities in which IUDX is deployed.
“Africa is on the fast track to achieving digital sovereignty. We envisage Africa to be the world’s largest digital economy in the near future and we at Ascend Digital are accelerating this realization by leveraging the diverse human resources in Africa, collaborating with governments and forging partnerships to unlock the full potential of digital technology and prepare the continent for digital transformation.This partnership with IUDX is key in realising a truly digital Africa by eliminating the boundaries that exist in the digital space and bridging the gap in information sharing. It will serve as a foundation for building a connected Africa” – Harkirit Singh (CEO of Ascend Digital Solutions)
Innovation is essential to create business models that can take advantage of the digital space to solve real life problems. Ascend Digital, through its experience in creating opportunities that can guide the government in the process of establishing the proper framework to foster digital entrepreneurship. Through its alliance with IUDX, Ascend can offer government, business sectors and individuals access to multiple use cases that can inspire creativity to bring solutions to address local needs. In fact, the IUDX platform has leveraged data effectively for a variety of requirements across urban India and has created path-breaking and sustainable data-driven solutions by exchanging and combining datasets from multiple sources to improve the lives of people and support public infrastructure.
“We are glad to bring this Indian technology to Africa and help foster an inclusive, open, secure and resilient African digital ecosystem” – Dr Inder Gopal, CEO, IUDX.
The partnership will bring the expertise and learnings gained within India to Africa, to create data exchange solutions that would help improve citizen lives across the continent. It will also help harness the digital economy as a driver of growth and innovation. It will also help with accelerating digital literacy in the continent with the creation of a training Academy to facilitate technology adoption, a key element to fully take advantage of the full potential of the digital space. Such learning platforms will promote growing awareness among African governments regarding the importance of interoperability platforms as well as training citizens for effective use of technology in day-to-day activities..
Ascend Digital Solutions is a trusted partner in enabling the real potential of a digital economy. Our goal is to be the digital catalyst reducing broadband usage gap through technology and ﬁnancial innovations that will leapfrog Africa into the 4th industrial revolution.
We envision Africa to be the technology playground in the near future with its vast natural and human resources, transforming itself to be the world’s largest digital platform. This will be achieved through high speed connectivity, access to low cost capital, reduction in the digital divide, mass entrepreneurship & innovation and developing solutions in Africa and for Africa.
Ascend Digital Solutions is creating tremendous opportunities in next-generation technologies that will enable the delivery of robotics, autonomous driving and artiﬁcial intelligence and accelerate Africa’s digital transformation.
The IUDX program supports India’s Smart Cities Mission within the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and facilitates the use of data to achieve the full potential of technology and innovation within Indian cities. It is set up as a multidisciplinary program within the Foundation for Science Innovation and Development in the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. The IUDX program addresses technical and non-technical issues related to the use of data to create public goods. The open-source platform developed by the program enables higher operational efﬁciency in the city administration by facilitating efﬁcient data exchange between various civic bodies, municipal departments, application developers and relevant data consumers. For more information, visit the website.
Digital transformation has taken the globe by storm. Countries are adopting digitisation to streamline operations to achieve a competitive edge in global marketplace. The pandemic has further pushed businesses over the technology tipping point transforming the digital roadmap for the future.
Africa is on an exciting journey to digital dominion. At the destination is a continent burgeoning under an information and knowledge economy, with increased financial inclusion and socio-economic empowerment for every one of its citizens. Ascend Digital Solutions works to make this vision a reality.
Ascend Digital Solutions is a trusted partner to public institutions across Africa in enabling the real potential of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Harkirit Singh, CEO of Ascend Digital Solutions was with the CEOViews team to share details about how they are serving the critical requirements of Africa and bringing in digital transformation.
CEOView: Ascend Digital Solutions is a trusted partner to public institutions across Africa in enabling the real potential of the 4th Industrial Revolution. How did it all begin? What was your mission at the outset?
Harkirit Singh: Africa is on a new journey of growth, socio-economic empowerment, and digital transformation. This is a journey that is destined to transform the face of Africa. Ascend Digital made the conscious decision to be a part of that journey focussing on solutions that accelerate digital infrastructure and meaning connectivity working with technology partners globally. Right from launch, our mission was and still is to upskill and prime local talent to serve the critical requirements of Africa’s burgeoning knowledge and information economy.
CEOViews: Ascend Digital Solutions Limited has been recognized as the, “Most Innovative companies to watch 2023.” How was your journey so far?
Harkirit Singh: The journey has been a learning process for Ascend, our strong teams and our partners who share our commitment to realize a Africa digital transformation.
Delivering mobile voice and data services through a shared wireless open access network to every mobile user in a rural community for the first time brought a lot of excitement to the people.
We also had a bit of challenge getting our clients to accept some of our innovative products using solutions such as wireless optical communication (wireless fibre) to connect the unconnected.
Our team of dedicated and experienced industry professionals share in the vision and mission of the company and this shared belief provides the energy and drive to deliver our digital solutions and connectivity for all in Africa agenda.
CEOViews: What innovative services does your firm provide to enable Africa’s connectivity and e-government goals?
Harkirit Singh: Through our smart infrastructure venture we have upgraded the national backbone, metro fibre, tier 3 data centres and LTE Fixed wireless access. Ascend Digital Solutions has enabled a national wide area network ensuring all the government offices and agencies are seamlessly connected to deliver e-government programs that revolutionize socio-economic development. We have also partnered with the government to deliver universal access broadband by deploying a full-scale shared mobile network to cover rural communities in Ghana bringing seamless internet and voice communications to over 1.4m people and businesses. As part of our corporate social responsibility, we partnered with the government of Ghana to develop a covid tracking app which enabled the tracking of covid-19 cases during the pandemic.
The investments in digital infrastructure and fixed and mobile networks will reduce the digital divide and increase financial inclusion. This will allow for a reliable network for the delivery of seamless e-services focused on health, education, agriculture, medium small-scale enterprises and hospitality to grow beyond the urban centres to rural areas.
CEOViews: What does it take to become a trusted network and IT services provider to public institutions across Africa?
Harkirit Singh: To be trusted, one needs to deliver on their promise and exceed expectations. Ascend Digital Solutions has ensured that it listens to the needs of all the stakeholders and work in collaboration across public and private enterprises to deliver within the agreed timeframe. We anticipate the needs of our customers and the with help of strategic partners, we provide solutions that satisfy our customer’s digital needs. We constantly challenge each other to think outside the box with the customer at the core of every decision-making.
CEOViews: How do you manage to stay abreast with new developments globally?
Harkirit Singh: Ascend Digital Solutions has a global mindset with a focus to deliver localised solutions. We continuously learn from ourselves and our partners, challenge our thinking and consistently look for smarter and more efficient ways in providing solutions. An innovative mindset, exceptional customer experience and speed to market are the keys to our success. We work with global technology partners and participate in key industry forums to stay ahead of the curve, trial new innovative solutions in our core markets and design innovative financial models to unlock the value of underlying assets that helps to accelerate the development & expansion of digital infrastructure.
CEOViews: How does your firm foster innovation in thought and technology to catapult digital revolution in Africa?
Harkirit Singh: First we offer an open culture where everyone is free to think and be creative. Secondly, we have an enabling environment that does not conform to the status quo of a corporate organization. We work in cross-functional teams, challenge and reward ourselves via healthy competition and promote inter-functional coordination. This way, team members do not box themselves into functional units. We all see ourselves as one big team with a common goal. Collaboration and responsibility are two of our core values and we live this to the latter. At Ascend Digital Solutions, no idea is “stupid”. We look for the nugget in every idea and turn this into a value proposition that transforms the lives of our clients.
We solicit feedback on a rolling basis right from the ideation stage through to execution. Each new idea is presented to the cross-functional team where the idea is critiqued in a constructive way. Once we are satisfied, we roll out on a pilot basis and follow up with the customer for feedback. Furthermore, we seek periodic feedback from our clients. Their satisfaction is our goal and the most valuable performance indicator.
CEOViews: What challenges did your firm come across throughout its journey so far?
Harkirit Singh: We had extreme challenges in our journey starting from the Covid lockdown, rising interest rates, inflation, currency fluctuations and global security issues threatening our survival. However, we stayed on course true to our strong belief and values that every hurdle will bring us closer to our goals. We were able to convince our stakeholders and partners and get their commitment to deliver as per the plan. Our reliance on the infrastructures of our partners such as the mobile network operators and tower companies occasionally affected our speed to market. We adjusted our execution timelines to accommodate the relatively slower pace of some partners and our internal teams worked hard to augment any gaps in service delivery to meet the committed timelines.
CEOViews: What according to you is the success factor for Ascend Digital Solutions?
Harkirit Singh: Every business must learn to put the customer first and listen to them. No organization will survive without the customer. Hence, they are the reason we are in business and their satisfaction should be our primary focus. Secondly, we must invest in our people. They help us deliver value to our customers. They must feel a part of the company’s journey. Once you do these two and do them well, profitability and growth will follow. Surely, there are other key structures and processes that need to be put in place. However, at Ascend Digital Solutions, we regard these two to be key success factors.
CEOViews: What type of future vision do you have for your firm?
Harkirit Singh: Our vision is to be the digital catalyst for reducing the broadband usage gap through technology and financial innovations leapfrogging Africa into the 4th industrial revolution. We envision Africa to be the technology playground in the near future with its vast natural and human resources transforming itself to be the world’s largest digital platform. It will only be possible through high-speed connectivity reducing the digital divide, igniting a revolution towards mass entrepreneurship & innovation, access to low-cost capital and developing solutions in Africa and for Africa.
The 4th Industrial Revolution is making waves in Africa. Amid the common sentiment that Africa may have missed out on the previous industrial revolutions, this time around, the stakes are quite high. But all things considered, the odds, today, seem to be in the continent’s favour. Meanwhile, Ghana has entered a remarkable phase of transformation, growth and change. Technology has been one of the biggest allies of the country, steering prosperity and progress along its route. As Ghana’s success story continues, Ascend Digital Solutions partners with the Government of Ghana, the country’s private institutions and its people to open a new chapter in this revolutionary journey.
The world’s adoption of Industry 4.0 is defined by a range of technologies – from 3D printing to Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Analytics and the most iconic of these, the Internet of Things. Industry 4.0 represents the coming together of the digital, organic, and physical realms, enabled and accelerated by these new, emerging and advanced technologies.
The 4th Industrial Revolution is set to transform Africa. Major technological advancements are driving Africa’s adoption of Industry 4.0. For example, research reveals that advances in mobile money and related digital services are spurring growth in Africa’s ICT sector, and this trend is expected to continue through 2025.1 And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to pan-continent digital transformation.
Among the African nations headlining the Industry 4.0 movement is Ghana. Key to this development is the fact that the Government of Ghana acknowledges that the adoption of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is mandatory for sustainable economic growth. But, to transform Ghana into a high-income economy that is rich in information, knowledge and skilled manpower, it needs to make strong strides, steered by ground-breaking technological investments.
The 4th Industrial Revolution is expected to touch upon the following cornerstones of the African economy, leapfrogging their development.
Holistic socioeconomic growth
Industry 4.0 is expected to directly impact the socioeconomic and cultural development of Ghana. The 4th industrial revolution will enable Ghana to steer all-round economic growth and progress. It will empower the government in its fight against poverty, by fuelling financial inclusion, and enable it to bridge the significantly large digital divide. For this to happen, Ghanaians will fundamentally need access to consistent power and broadband internet connectivity, which in turn will open up access to better healthcare and improved quality of life.
Industry 4.0 will also impact how the Government of Ghana dispenses its civic commitments. E-government programs, for example, will see greater growth fuelled by these rapid ICT developments.
Africa has a massive workforce with the vast majority of the population (57%) under 25. These are youth who stand to benefit immensely from the industrial revolution.
Creating employment for its expanding youth population is also one of Ghana’s priorities – as it is with most other African countries. The government is keenly encouraging developments in this area. Industry 4.0 brings along previously unseen opportunities for Ghana’s employable population. With the rise of industries, the demand for skilled and specialised labour is expected to see a rapid increase, and this trend is may continue through the next decade.
Attracting foreign and local investments
Ghana is one of the most stable countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and is a highly favourable investment destination. A growing labour force and a conducive business ecosystem are attractive to investors who look at Ghana as the next big business destination.
Ghana is no stranger to pioneering innovations and adopting them into successful business models. Back in 1992, Ghana was among the first of the African nations to launch a mobile cellular network. Today digitalisation is enabling the industrial and corporate sectors to devise business models that are more profitable in the short term, while remaining socially sustainable in the long run. An environment that promotes growth, and an ecosystem that supports innovation, will together enable more Foreign Direct Investments in Ghana in 2021.
Ascend Digital Solutions: Africa’s partners in success
Ascend Digital Solutions has been embarking on strategic partnerships to prepare Ghana for Industry 4.0. We are a trusted partner to public institutions across Africa in enabling the real potential of the 4th Industrial Revolution. We are building technology and services-driven platforms that leverage Africa’s diverse and abundant human resources and collaborating with local governments to prepare them for digital transformation.
One of our core missions is to upskill and prime local talent to serve the critical requirements of Africa’s burgeoning knowledge and information economy.
Our commitment is to become a preferred networks and IT services provider to public institutions across Africa, communication service providers/mobile network operators, and commercial enterprises. We believe that such collaboration holds the key to enabling the Government of Ghana and its diverse workforce for the digital revolution that will catapult Ghana to Industry 4.0. ·
Ascend Digital Solutions is partnering with the Government of Ghana to deliver on their ambition of “Digital for all”. We allow private and public players to tap into Africa’s rich digital infrastructure – fibre backbone, metro network, data centres and towers – to build innovative and value-adding service offerings. Digital solutions are a core part of these offerings, covering e-health, e-learning and cybersecurity.
We have embarked on several key projects, most of these are dedicated to building innovative solutions that will:
Help bridge Ghana’s widening digital divide
Support socio-economic development, and,
Enable e-government programs to uplift the economy
In our journey since inception, we have already had some milestone achievements, including the GH COVID-19 Tracker and the Ghana Rural Telephony and Digital Inclusion project.
Keeping COVID-19 at bay through the GH COVID-19 Tracker
In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Ascend Digital Solutions, in partnership with the Government of Ghana, launched a COVID-19 mobile application tracker for Ghana. The app aims to help Ghanaians and foreigners living in the country to stay informed and safe by drawing on advanced capabilities, like geofencing. Following an extensive campaign branded “You Matter”, the app gained significant traction among mobile users, sensitising them on its benefits in protecting their social circles and personal well-being.
The app comes with extensive capabilities, allowing users to completely control their movement and exposure levels to COVID-19. Extensive reporting capabilities show authorities the number of users actively utilising the platform as well as the status of self-quarantined users, along with detailed breakdowns by region, gender, mobility, level of risk and more.
The GH COVID-19 Tracker is available for iOS and Android users for downloading onto smartphones. A version of the app is also available for feature phone users, who can dial *769# to access the USSD menu.
For more information, reach out to: email
Ghana Rural Telephony and Digital Inclusion project
The Ghana Rural Telephony and Digital Inclusion Project seeks to provide voice and data connectivity to the underserved areas of the nation, covering more than 3.4 million people. The €155-million project is being implemented by the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) that functions under Ghana’s Ministry of Communications.
President Akufo-Addo officially launched the novel initiative at Atwereboana, New Edubiase in the Ashanti Region, in November. The project, which will be carried out in collaboration with MTN, Vodafone, Airtel Tigo, Huawei and the Export-Import Bank of China, aims to commission over 2,000 rural strategic sites. The project is part of the government’s initiatives to reduce the country’s digital divide and promote equal opportunities among its citizens. Once completed, it will connect an additional 3,000,000 people to the telecommunications network, bringing them better access to social, economic, health, and educational wellbeing.
To read more about how we’re changing the roadmap of Africa’s socio-economic journey, click here.
Smart cities are rapidly emerging as the world’s answer to the riddling challenges that come with urban development. Some of the smartest cities in the world, like London and Singapore, are demonstrating how intelligent and forward-looking technologies can steer positive lifestyle changes, while also delivering on the macroeconomic goals of financial inclusion and social advancement. Ascend Digital Solutions is revolutionary entry in this space, and a strategic partner to the governments of Africa. Ascend is working on digital transformation and connectivity, which will rapidly change the business landscape of Ghana. Leading the way is its Internet of Things (IoT) solution suite that lets you control anything in the physical world through sensor-enabled devices.
With nearly three million people around the world moving to cities every week, as per the UN-Habitat – 2009 report, smart cities are a viable long-term investment that ensure higher sustainability and better quality of life.
What are smart cities?
The phrase ‘smart cities’ has recently become synonymous with the Internet of Things (IoT). This assumption is true up to an extent, as smart cities rely heavily on IoT sensors to track their residents, assets and operations. These sensors gather and dispense valuable information to help the cities and their resources function efficiently.
Smart cities are connected and self-sufficient, up to a large extent. Central to success of the smart city is its ICT (information and communication technology) infrastructure, which is essentially a backbone spanning this large ecosystem and connecting its various moving parts. Some of the foundational elements of a smart city are data collection and democratisation, analysis and inference, collaboration and communication, and innovative solutioning.
High functionality is a definitive factor for smart cities, whether it involves energy consumption, public transport, the environment or the people. Government and private agencies work closely with each other to create smart systems and initiatives that improve functionality, self-sustenance and efficiency.
Ghana: A shining example of smart administration
As of 2018, Sub-Saharan Africa was the fastest urbanising region in the world1. This is good news – one that could catalyse Africa’s evolution into a highly sought-after emerging market. However, the lions moving to the cities triggers its own share of problems. Smart cities propose a practical and fail-proof solution to these problems – brought on by Africa’s rapid pace of urbanisation, plagued by a host of infrastructural and economic roadblocks.
One of the pioneers of Industry 4.0 in Africa, Ghana joins the league of African nations embarking on highly anticipated smart city projects. The country has taken dramatic measures to improve the key parameters underpinning the success of its smart city ventures – significant investment in ICT, upskilling and training manpower, focus on education, social programs, and infrastructure development initiatives. An example of administrative excellence, Ghana’s Accra had previously2 received the grant for the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge, a push in the right direction on the social and infrastructural development fronts. Ghana continues setting the trend even today, partnering with international companies, like Alibaba, Whale Cloud3 and RACP4, on numerous high-value smart city projects.
Ascend: Building smart cities that lead to a smart economy
As per Gartner’s 2019 analysis, smart city frameworks and IoT are the two top technologies set to transform business in Africa in the next decade.5 This extends to both Africa’s rural and urban landscapes.
Ultimately, the success of these smart cities depends on the availability of high-speed digital connectivity anytime, anywhere. But, across Africa, the majority of rural areas and a handful of urban pockets face alarming shortage of inexpensive and continuous internet access. This is primarily due to the substantial lack of ICT infrastructure. This subsequently leads to low data visibility for administrators, private players and citizens, and subsequent lapses and delays in decision-making.
Ascend Digital Solutions delivers on Ghana’s smart city and borderless connectivity goals. Our smart solutions include:
Affordable, abundant and accessible high-speed broadband in rural areas, delivered via Wi-Fi and Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC) systems
Innovative IoT and cost-effective digital infrastructure solutions that build smart governance, smart people and a smart economy
Ascend is enabling smart cities in Ghana using next-generation smart technologies and connected devices that are today dominating the urban landscape. The fourth Industrial Revolution is combining the power of data with the power of the people. Technologies to leverage these devices, such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, security, quantum computing and Blockchain, are unleashing numerous opportunities. But they are also posing new challenges, as citizens are increasingly concerned by privacy issues.
We’re developing smart city solutions in Ghana, transforming an obligatory service into a customer-focused and sustainable corporate entity. Through innovative and smart sewage network management (manhole monitoring), workforce tracking, water quality control, smart streetlights, water/gas AMR, surveillance/door sensors, and waste management solutions, we are revolutionising this space. This unlocks massive, previously unseen opportunities to expand revenue, optimise operations and enhance customer and end-user experience.
Ascend is building a digitally connected Ghana with IoT solutions that are powered by state-of-the-art devices, network, platform and applications, and a perfect fit for industrial, commercial and residential use cases.