With the pandemic not going to leave our lives anytime soon and the terrible impact it has had on the countries' economies - in our country even worse because of the already difficult pre-Covid situation - the challenge now is to resume the production of products that are painfully necessary for survival. citizens while maintaining Covid's prevention rules. In other words, to increase production with fewer people working urgently, because the levels of hunger and misery have never been as high as they are now.
Technology and investment in information technology infrastructures are increasingly showing themselves as the most viable, fast and sustainable way to achieve this objective. From family and high-yield agriculture to the urgent expansion of water and energy distribution to families and industries, through the safe movement of people and goods, more and more information and communication technologies are becoming the way forward. faster and safer. So, what before seemed an alternative approach to development - the expansion and modernization of the telecommunications network and infrastructure - today is an urgent need if we want to relaunch the economy and reverse the situation of severe food shortages that plague the country.
The first step necessarily focuses on solving the problem of connectivity across the country. Connectivity is, for technological massification, what veins are for the body. It is through it that information in voice and data circulates that makes it alive, just as blood circulates through veins to make an organism live.
Therefore, in the case of Angola, the mobile phone and internet signal must cover the entire country. In my travels on land, already during the pandemic, I have noticed that in most of the layout of the national roads there is a sign, either by UNITEL, or Movicel. Apart from a few short sections, it is possible to be connected by voice and data. Likewise, all municipal headquarters have a signal. If we move three or four kilometers away from the roads or from the municipal headquarters, we are left without a signal. Thus, most farms in the interior have no sign of connectivity. Just as they do not have public running water or electricity from the grid (although this issue is gradually being resolved with the extension of the Laúca dam's energy). This problem can be largely remedied immediately if the two mobile operators join forces and use their repeaters in the form of a single network, instead of being separate as they currently do.
The second step requires the widening of road, energy and water infrastructures. Second, and not the first step, as it would have been a short time ago, because technology can today detect and resolve faults in systems over long distances with minimal human assistance. Where technicians used to spend the whole day walking, often on rough terrain, under rain or strong sunlight, technology changed that. Workers are now able to inspect power distribution lines or piped water with high-definition chambers, either fixed or mounted on drones, connected to a 5G network. You feeds of video are analyzed by AI technology, being complemented by human analysis. New technologies allow maintenance technicians to inspect the network in the comfort of a control room. Inspections that used to take 20 days can be completed in two hours.
The same can be said of road repair. With 5G technology, workers in air-conditioned rooms can remotely control excavators and other repair equipment. At a mine in China, technology giant Huawei set up a 5G network through which, relying on feeds of real-time video from various angles, operators control the excavators from a remote, air-conditioned place, as if they were on site. This technology can also be applied to high-performance agricultural farms. Operators of tillage, sowing, harvesting machines, etc., can operate them in the comfort of a room, protected from the sun, rain and other bad weather. The yield will certainly be higher, and this could be the way to produce the food we need so much to make up for the food deficit “that we have with it”, at the same time that we save the currency currently spent on the purchase of increasingly expensive food.
These examples - there are more around the world - serve to illustrate how strategic and urgent it is to invest in new information technologies in our country, at a time when we need to find creative and effective formulas to rebuild the economy of the shutdown imposed by Covid 19. Of course that all of this goes through a massive investment in training and capacity building of the country's human resources. But with a human geography in which more than 60% of the population is under 30, this is not a problem. On the contrary, it is another step forward for the sustainability of a development based on the intelligent and effective use of new technologies.
Article written by Celso Malavoloneke, published on MenosFios.com with the authorization of the author's press office.