Seth Onyango, bird story agency
Zambia is aiming for speed as it adopts a faster WiFi 6 as part of a push to recalibrate its internet offering and lay the groundwork to power its fledgling internet economy.
The move comes amidst a series of economic and political reforms, signalling the country's ambition to reinvent itself as a modern and digitally advanced African nation, following a landmark general election in 2021.
The push towards advanced digital connectivity is also part of Zambia's broader strategy to encourage foreign investment, boost its startup ecosystem, and improve public services.
According to a budget plan presented by the Ministry of Finance on Sunday (August 10), Zambia's economy is projected to grow by just 2.7% in 2023, down from 4.7% in 2022, as contractions in the mining and energy sectors restrain growth. This makes growing new sectors of the economy even more important.
WiFi 6 is the latest wireless internet (WiFi) standard, offering faster speeds, increased efficiency, and lower latency. It is particularly good at ensuring high-speed connections when multiple devices are connected to a network.
Experts suggest that its early adoption could yield significant economic benefits for the nation. The superior speeds and capacity of WiFi 6 are expected to bolster the country's digital infrastructure, thereby attracting international tech investments and spurring local innovations.
"We are excited to introduce our Wi-Fi 6 and Edge solutions to the African market," said Glad Dibetso, Group CEO at inq.
"These advanced solutions exemplify our commitment to delivering the best-in-class technology that transforms the way people connect, communicate, and conduct business."
Rollout of the new technology is expected to begin in urban centres such as Lusaka, Ndola, and Livingstone, before extending to rural areas.
Challenges remain, however, including the need for extensive infrastructure upgrades and ensuring affordability for all citizens.
Zambia is not the only African country that is exploring the potential of Wi-Fi 6 technology.
Already, several African states have made strides in the digital realm, with countries like Kenya, South Africa, and Rwanda setting benchmarks in terms of technological advancement.
South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana have also shown interest in deploying Wi-Fi 6 networks to improve their digital infrastructure and connectivity.
Last year, the Kenyan government designated the lower 6 GHz radio spectrum (5925 – 6425 MHz) for unlicensed Wi-Fi usage, in line with the African Telecommunications Union's directive from July 202.
This strategic decision, as highlighted by DSA in their recent announcement, positions Kenya advantageously in the region and paves the way for the integration of next-gen Wi-Fi 6 and 6E technologies.
bird story agency