IEEE Virtual Salon – Connectivity and Access in the Era of COVID-19

COVID-19 has highlighted the universal need for equitable connectivity, particularly the challenges faced on the African continent. This virtual salon will explore the demands in broadband connectivity, including challenges and opportunities in light of the ongoing pandemic.

When: October 27, 2021, 10:00 AM EDT / 5:00 PM EAT

Panelists representing a variety of  sectors will draw from examples across Africa and related regions and discuss issues such as:

  • If COVID-19 is a deterrent or an incentive to bring broadband to unconnected regions
  • How countries can leapfrog broadband connectivity in rural areas
  • Successful national or regional responses in terms of connectivity during the pandemic
  • Impact of COVID-19 on educational outcomes in regions without connectivity vs regions with connectivity

This virtual salon is sponsored and delivered with the generous support of IEEE’s Africa Council.






Alex Wong  serves as the Chief of Special Initiatives in the Office of the Director of the Telecommunications Development Bureau at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs). In this role he is leading Giga, a joint project between ITU and UNICEF to connect every school to the internet, and every young person to information, opportunity, and choice. Prior to joining the ITU, Alex has worked in both the private and not-for-profit sectors. He has served as President of CG/LA Infrastructure, a US based company that promotes and develops infrastructure projects around the world. Alex was a member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum, an international organization for public private cooperation with a mission to improve the state of the world, where he held several leadership roles including the development and rollout of the Forum’s Global System Initiatives; heading the ICT, Media & Entertainment, Basics, and Infrastructure industry teams and related projects; and heading the Center for Global Industries Geneva. Additionally, Alex worked in a variety of professional roles at Accenture as a Strategy Consultant, General Motors as a Quality Control Engineer, and the US National Parks Service. Alex is a licensed Professional Engineer with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto and a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University.

Dr. Bello Moussa is the head of innovation and ICT strategies at Huawei Southern Africa. His unit is responsible for design and implementation of new solutions and new technologies aimed at supporting developing countries in unleashing digital opportunities for inclusive development. These include solutions relating to broadband infrastructure, wireless telecom protocols, wireless product portfolio management & development, solution strategy for IoT, 4.5G & 5G markets expansion and operational consultancy for Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa. Dr Moussa was born in Cameroon, moved to Saudi Arabia where he started his tertiary education, and finished it in Bangladesh. He went to China in early 2000 to pursue his Master’s degree and PHD in telecommunications.

Josephine Miliza a is digital inclusion and community networks champion passionate about supporting communities to build resilient and scalable bottom-up connectivity models. She is among the pioneers of the community network movement in Africa and co-founded TunapandaNET a community network in Kibera, Nairobi Kenya. Josephine serves as Africa regional coordinator for the Association of Progressive Communications-LOCNET project hosted by the Kenya ICT Action Network in Nairobi Kenya. This project aims to contribute to an enabling ecosystem for the emergence and growth of community networks and other community-based connectivity initiatives in the global south. Josephine is actively involved in promoting the community networks movement in Africa and is currently the co-chair of the program committee organizing the Africa community networks summit, awareness building, capacity building and policy advocacy forums. Her current interests are in bottom-up sustainable connectivity models and creative approaches to an enabling environment that fosters resilience and innovation for communities in Africa.

Juanita Clark is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Digital Council Africa, a not for profit industry association head quartered in South Africa. Digital technologies offer widespread disruption and will with it unlocking new opportunities for rapid economic growth, innovation, job creation and access to services. The Digital Council is an independent association that acts a bridge and connector between the government, the technology industry, and interested parties across Africa. It seeks to establish an efficient telecommunications environment through the development of best practises, standards policies and guidelines. The Digital Council encourages African governments to embrace the extraordinary possibilities that the digital era has for Africa and believe that the digital economy will enhance the quality of life for African citizens and allow Africa to remain competitive in the global market. The Digital Council mission is to help public and private sector to work together to deliver on the expectations of a gigabit society. Through developing the digital eco-system stack. She co-founded the organisation in 2010 after realising the need for grass roots awareness and education with regards to the role of broadband networks in the telecommunications industry. The Digital Council embraces the extraordinary possibilities that the digital era has for Africa. Aside from her work she is also a published author and have appeared on international television and radio. A high performing and deeply committed leader she played a pivotal role in steering and establishing the fibre industry as we know it today.

Ronald Osumba has 18 years of experience in the private sector, public service and entrepreneurship, having held leadership positions in technology and government corporations. He is Founder and Chief Executive Officer at iGov Africa Limited, a boutique innovation house, and also Co-Founder of mSafari, a passenger manifest, digital payments and data analytics platform that provides the Kenyan government and public transport stakeholders with commuter data insights, and helps in contract tracing for COVID19. Ronald is also serving as the Team Leader of the Kenya Catalytic Jobs Fund, a £5 million UKAID funded program that is testing competitively selected innovations that have potential to unlock market constraints and create jobs, including for the most vulnerable. As the Head of Public Sector at Oracle Corporation, Kenya, Senior Manager for Government Relations and Public Sector Sales at Safaricom Limited, and Chairman of Youth Enterprise Development Fund, Ronald developed high-performance teams that shaped policy decisions both at the national and county government levels while maintaining a private sector approach to socio-economic solutions. He is a Tutu Fellow, Aspen Institute graduate, a Crans Montana Leader of Tomorrow and serves a Trustee of Uzima University and Vice Chairman of the Uzima University Foundation. 

Mr. Purva Rajkotia is the Director of Global Business Strategy & Intelligence (GBSI) and the Connectivity and Telecom Practice Lead at IEEE SA. Prior to IEEE, Purva held leadership positions with Qualcomm, Samsung, and Disney in various capacities. Purva also held leadership positions in various standards organizations such as ITU, 3GPP, 3GPP2, CENELEC, etc. He has authored more than 100 patents granted by the USPTO (US Patent Office) and other worldwide patent organizations. He is one of the co-authors of the chapter on Powerline Communications in the book “MIMO Power Line Communications Narrow and Broadband Standards, EMC, and Advanced Processing” by CRC Press. He obtained his MSEE degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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