The UK Space Agency announced seven new space projects in 2015, funded through the International Partnerships Space Programme (IPSP). Each project sees UK companies working with international partners to develop satellite technology in emerging markets and demonstrating how it can provide social or economic benefit to countries that do not currently have such capabilities.
Satellite remains the only viable means of providing universal internet access beyond the reach of terrestrial communication in Sub-Saharan Africa – in 2012 a total of 341 million people (source: Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation) lived beyond a 50km range of an operational fibre optic network.
Inmarsat was awarded funding for a project in key East and West African growth hubs where, for many, basic digital services such as a resilient data communication infrastructure or local mapping are simply not available due to a blend of economic and geographic factors.
Working in partnership with the Equity Bank Group, we are providing connectivity to enable financial services, welfare and other content access to over 200 locations in Kenya.
By partnering with Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA), we are delivering maternal and child health services to 50 rural communities in Nigeria. Maternal and child health has been identified as a priority initiative in Nigeria by the World Bank.
Both projects utilise our BGAN Link fixed location mobile satellite capabilities, which also provides additional broadband internet access for the local communities involved to bring long-term economic benefits to them.
Inmarsat is working in partnership with the Equity Bank Group to help deliver financial services to 200 sites across Kenya, including some of the most remote settings in the region, and extend financial inclusion to the ‘unbanked ‘ and ‘unconnected’.
Equity Bank Group has more than eight million customers in Kenya, making it the largest bank in terms of customer base in Africa. Its vision is ‘to be the champion of the socio-economic prosperity of the people of Africa’.
Working with local agents, we are providing each community with a BGAN Link internet connectivity terminal to enable them to offer residents convenient and flexible financial access, which can help transform their lives and livelihoods. In addition, agents are able to create other business opportunities, such as selling data-based services.
In 2010 the bank established the Equity Group Foundation with a corporate social responsibility remit to transform the socio-economic lives of African people, by seeking partnerships to promote education, leadership development, financial literacy and access, entrepreneurship, agriculture, health, innovations and the environment.
Each of our connectivity devices is preloaded with information on these subjects, provided by the Equity Bank Foundation, to address knowledge gaps in business, agriculture and education, and drive economic growth.
Throughout the programmes, Dalberg Global Development Advisors and the Satellite Applications Catapult are conducting Human Centred Design studies at the sites to examine the affordability of the business model as well as to identify the relevant cultural and social dynamics that can help foster and sustain future connectivity programmes.
Inmarsat is working with international partners in Nigeria including Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA), Praekelt Foundation, SURE-P, and Dalberg Global Development Advisors to deliver maternal and child health services to 50 physically and technologically disconnected rural communities.
We are connecting clinics in these remote areas with BGAN Link Wi-Fi hubs to provide access to online health information from MAMA in order to help improve maternal and child health outcomes.
MAMA is a public/private partnership between USAID, Johnson & Johnson, the United Nations Foundation and BabyCenter, specialising in delivering localised health information to new and expectant mothers via mobile phones. To date it has reached more than two million women, families and caregivers across a range of low and middle income countries.
By partnering with MAMA, Inmarsat is able to deliver satellite connectivity devices, preloaded with the organisation’s health application, to rural communities as well as helping to facilitate the collection of health data to enable advancements in eHealth findings relating to maternal, newborn and child health in Nigeria.
The project will ensure that these clinics can be part of regional and national eHealth systems, have access to telemedicine content, and provide an environment that encourages women and their families to take advantage of the maternal care available.
The demand for satellite services to enhance connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa is evident in a number of sectors including health, education, e-Government and financial services. Mobile satellite has been identified as the communications channel of choice due to the capacity available and ability to connect even the remotest of regions.
In tandem with the Kenya and Nigeria projects, Inmarsat is working alongside the Satellite Applications Catapult and Dalberg Global Development Advisors to investigate additional cases for evolving novel, satcom-enabled services in other areas of Sub-Saharan Africa to help grow inclusive digital economies.
Due to a shortcoming and immaturity in connectivity provision in the region, research will seek to identify business models and plans that can be effectively and affordably enabled by Inmarsat’s connectivity.
The expansion of our L-band network constellation over the EMEA region, following transition of services onto the Alphasat satellite, together with the ease of deployment and use of satellite broadband terminals, will enable Inmarsat to push the frontiers of the satellite industry by leveraging its global ecosystem and economies of both scale and innovation.
A library called STARHub (Space Technology Applied Research) will be built and populated by Inmarsat, Caribou Digital, London Institute of Space Policy and Law, and Dalberg with findings from the research on the ground and details of both projects being undertaken.
The project brings together a world-class consortium led by Inmarsat that will be contributing research, design, business and technical skills to produce high-impact results against the key objective of the programme:
To deliver tangible economic benefits from the use of UK satellite technology to countries that currently do not have these benefits, and to generate a bridge between the UK space sector and strategic third-world countries.
The consortium comprises a range of UK and international partners including:
Dalberg – a strategic advisory firm dedicated to global development with a footprint across more than 45 countries in Africa. Dalberg will be delivering strategic direction, planning and innovation to maximise impact.
Satellite Applications Catapult – an innovation and technology company fostering economic growth through the exploitation of space to develop new satellite-based products and services. It will be undertaking user application research to pilot development and translate ideas from concept to market.
Caribou Digital – drives end-to-end architecture and community management to build digital economies in emerging markets through research, advisory and delivery work with partners.
Anchor Partners will be driving content delivery, local insight and implementation expertise during the project and beyond:
MAMA – the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action’s (MAMA) mission is to deliver vital health information to new and expectant mothers through mobile phones. Their global consortium of influential partners will be driving maternal and child health across Nigeria.
Equity Bank – the largest and fastest growing financial services company in East Africa with a vision to socially and economically empower clients and stakeholders. It will be providing financial access and addressing knowledge gaps in business, agriculture and education to drive economic growth across Kenya.
The Open University – Through academic research and collaborative partnership the Open University (OU) seeks to be a world leader in the design, content and delivery of supported open learning. It will bring this unparalleled expertise to the educational aspect of the Kenya project.
Digital Frontiers is also supported by an Advisory Board made up of senior representatives from space, science and technology, health, and Africa-focused organisations in the UK and Africa, including Archbishop Tutu’s Global eHealth Foundation, Ian Taylor MBE, and the Royal Africa.
The Digital Frontiers project is being delivered by key representatives from each of the consortium members and advisory boards, including:
James Cemmell, Founder and Steering Committee Member
James Cemmell founded the I-Sat Connection Programme and is Head of Government Affairs at Inmarsat, with responsibilities that include Africa and international programmes. In the run up to the launch of the Alphasat satellite in 2013 and subsequent, he assembled a group of leading digital economy experts. These are now mobilised through the I-Sat Connection: Pushing Digital Frontiers programme to leverage satellite to its fullest extent in the pursuit of bridging the digital divide and delivering truly inclusive digital economies globally.
Tolga Ors, Inmarsat Programme Director
Tolga Ors is a Strategic Programme Director at Inmarsat, responsible for space applications projects such as Disaster Response (SatResponse), media streaming using Global Xpress (VICOMESTRA), and the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for infrastructure monitoring (SURMON). Prior to joining Inmarsat, Tolga worked at Intelsat in Washington D.C., leading customisation of OSS and BSS solutions for satellite systems. He has an MSc and PhD in SatCom from the University of Surrey and an MSc in Project Management from The George Washington University (GWU).
James Mwangi, Senior Advisor
James Mwangi is Executive Director of the Dalberg Group, which works to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development. Dalberg’s 14 global offices provide strategy consulting, design, investment and research capabilities to hundreds of client organizations. As a consultant, James often advises senior government leaders, business executives and investors on the intersection between commercially attractive and socially impactful business in frontier markets, particularly in Africa.
Chris Locke, Steering Committee Member
Chris Locke is the Founder of Caribou Digital, an organisation dedicated to growing inclusive digital economies by working with clients to help digital access, transactions and entrepreneurship develop to create 21st Century digital countries. Previously, Chris was the MD of GSMA Mobile for Development and spent 15 years working in senior roles within the mobile and internet industries, for companies including Virgin Group, Three, AOL and T-Mobile.
Sam Adlen, Head of Business Innovation, Satellite Applications Catapult
Sam is Head of Business Innovation for the Satellite Applications Catapult, responsible for supporting businesses and driving innovation. He has previously been Lead Technologist for Space at Innovate UK. Following a PhD working on a NASA Mars satellite he worked as a consultant focusing on satellite applications, held senior roles in Finmeccanica and co-founded and successfully exited a start-up.
Gillian Hosier, Work Package Lead
Gillian Hosier is a Philanthropy Manager in the Open University (OU) Development Office, focusing mainly on building relationships with friends, supporters and partners of the OU for a number of different projects. Prior to this, Gillian was Prospect Research Manager within the Development Office, responsible for providing briefings on constituents able to support the University.
Julia Moffett, Steering Committee Member
Julia Moffett is the Director of Innovation at the Equity Group Foundation, and founder of the Future of Learning Investment Fund that supports education entrepreneurs in the developing world. Previous roles have included: Director of Strategic Planning in the Clinton White House and National Security Council; Vice President at NBC News; MD of the Markle Foundation; and Director of Strategy at the BBC World Service Trust. Julia serves on numerous Boards and has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Finance Committee for Obama for President in 2008 and 2012.
Ken Banks, Advisory Board Member
Ken Banks, founder of kiwanja.net and creator of messaging platform FrontlineSMS, devotes himself to the application of mobile technology for positive social and environmental change in the developing world. He has worked at the intersection of technology, anthropology, conservation and development for the past twenty years and, during that time, has lived and worked across the African continent. He is a PopTech Fellow, a Tech Awards Laureate, an Ashoka Fellow and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and has been internationally recognised for his technology-based work. In 2013 he was nominated for the TED Prize, and in 2015 was a Visiting Fellow at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. In late 2015 Ken was appointed CARE International’s first Entrepreneur in Residence. He is also a published author, with his first edited book, “The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator”, released in late 2013 with a follow-up, published by Kogan Page, due for release in March 2016.
Robin Miller, Digital Economy Research Lead
Robin Miller is an Associate Partner at Dalberg’s Johannesburg office where her work focuses on ICT strategy, access to finance, global health, and institutional strategy. Robin recently completed a study for the World Bank looking at the impact of mobile phones on health systems in developing countries and is leading a team to support the Southern African NGO Network and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the monitoring and evaluation of a project to deploy mobile technology solutions to drive operational efficiency and increased income for smallholder farmer associations in Kenya and Zambia. Prior to joining Dalberg, Robin co-founded the Praekelt Foundation.
Tim Hayward, Overall Programme Director
Tim Hayward is the overall I-Sat Connection Programme Director and works for Caribou Digital, which is dedicated to growing digital economies in emerging markets. Previously Tim was the Operations Director for GSMA’s Mobile for Development Department, leading 75 people focused on expanding the impact of mobile in emerging markets. Tim also led business critical technology programmes for the UK Government, Vodafone and Deloittes, and worked for a major Systems Integrator across the ex-USSR and in the Middle East.
Dr Adetokunbo Oshin, Nigeria International Partner and Steering Committee Member
Dr Adetokunbo Oshin is the Deputy Project Director of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) Maternal and Child Health Project, a $500m project of the Government of Nigeria. He served as Senior Technical Assistant to the Minister of State for Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria and helped conceptualise the Saving One Million Lives initiative. He currently runs the SURE-P Conditional Cash Transfer Programme and is a member of the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) Nigeria Steering Committee.
Kirsten Gagnaire, Nigeria International Partner and Steering Committee Member
Kirsten Gagnaire is the Executive Director of the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA). Before joining MAMA, Kirsten was the Ghana Country Director for the Grameen Foundation and led the initial implementation of MOTECH. She was also founder of the Social Enterprise Group (SEG) and Sustayne. Kirsten has authored several articles, contributed to books regarding social enterprise and was named one of the Puget Sound’s Top 40 Under Forty Business Leaders.
Aly-Khan Jamal, Digital Economy Research Lead
Aly-Khan Jamal is an Associate Partner with Dalberg and founded their consultancy practice in London. He brings a breadth of experience across the telecoms, media and technology landscape, in both developed and developing markets, and across the value chain from infrastructure through to service delivery and customer value management. Aly-Khan works across both strategy and investment advisory, and clients have included players within the telecoms sectors as well as private equity and venture capital funds.
John Staley, Steering Committee Member
John Staley has a Master’s of Science in Applied and Computational Mathematics and a BSc in Physics. He also holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and is a qualified Chartered Accountant. A specialist in implementing cost-effective ICT solutions, John worked as the CEO of Credit Indemnity (Pty) Ltd in South Africa before joining Equity Bank where he is the Chief Officer of Finance, Innovation & Technology.
Ian Taylor, Advisory Board Member
Ian Taylor was an MP from 1987-2010 and Minister of Science & Technology between 1994-97. He chaired both the Parliamentary & Scientific Committee and the Space Committee. Ian now chairs the National Space Academy Steering Group, the Research Councils’ Rainbow Seed Fund, Lunar Mission One, Living PlanIT SA, and GeoReach Global Ltd. He is a Council Member of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), and has been advising the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Integrated Applications Programme.
Erik Hersman, Digital Entrepreneur
Erik Hersman is an entrepreneur and technologist focused on advancing the use of technology in Africa. He is the CEO of BRCK, a rugged wireless Wi-Fi device designed and engineered in Kenya, and in 2010 founded the iHub, Nairobi’s innovation hub for the technology community. Erik is also co-founder of Ushahidi, and afrigadget.com and whiteafrican.com – key online communities promoting creative solutions entrepreneurship and development challenges across Africa. He is general partner in the Savannah Fund, and sits on the boards of Akirachix, Angani, the Kijabe Forest Trust, and the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI).
Gustav Praekelt, Technology Partner
Gustav Praekelt is the founder and CEO of South Africa-based Praekelt Group, a leader in mobile platforms for developing and emerging markets. His passionate belief in the power of mobile phones to transform Africa inspired him to establish the Praekelt Foundation in 2006, which develops robust, highly scalable mobile solutions for social good. Projects emerging out of Praekelt Foundation have already reached over 50 million people across 15 countries in Africa. Gustav’s work at both Praekelt Consulting and Praekelt Foundation saw him named an Endeavor Entrepreneur in 2010 and invited to become part of the faculty for PopTech’s Social Innovation Fellows Program.
Richard Dowden, Senior Advisor
Richard Dowden is the Director of the Royal African Society. He was formerly the Africa editor for The Economist newspaper. Richard became director of the Royal African Society in 2002, following a long career as a journalist with a focus on Africa. His first two years on the continent, as a volunteer teacher in Uganda, coincided with the first two years of Idi Amin’s rule. He has visited and written about almost every country on the continent. He is the author of Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles.
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