We’re stuck here for a while 😟

Ever Given stuck in Suez Canal, Safaricom starts 5G trials in Kenya, Meet Evelyn Nomayo

Hello there,

For some weird reason, the brain can remember faster that you forgot something than it remembers what you forgot. 😪

It’s the last Saturday in March. See you in the second quarter.

We’re stuck here for a while

Egypt’s Suez Canal has been blocked since Tuesday by one of the world’s biggest container ships, the Ever Given -  1.3k feet long and weighs 440m pounds.

The Suez Canal?

It’s an artificial sea-level waterway that serves as a critical trade route. About 12% of global trade passes through the Suez Canal (193km), which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea and provides the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe.

What’s at stake?

$10 billion worth of trade typically passes through the Suez Canal every day but now it can’t.

There were 1,519 vessel transits of the Suez Canal in February, 392 of which were containerships, according to the latest available data. On average, that is over 50 ship transits and 14 containership transits per day. 

The big picture: A short-term disruption will unlikely to have much of an impact, but if it takes weeks as experts have said to clear the blockage then we might have to worry. Economically vital commodities – crops, livestock, oil, fuel, chemicals, and much more – are aboard some of these ships.

Is there an alternative route?

Yes, there is an alternative route around the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa, but it can take two weeks longer.

Read more: Suez Canal: How are they trying to free the Ever Given?

Well, hello 5G

Internet users in some parts of Kenya will experience 5G for the first time as Safaricom has finally started trials for a 5G internet technology in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kisii and Kakamega. This move makes it the third mobile network operator in Africa after Vodacom and MTN unveiled their 5G networks in South Africa last year.

About time

Yup. In 2020, Safaricom announced it was rolling out the 5G technology but later put it on hold in January to focus on converting 2G and 3G customers to its 4G network, which it previously pledged to boost coverage to 100% in Kenya. 

Smart move

The telco promised to cover the whole of Kenya with its 4G network by the end of the year. It also says it was increasing capital expenditure by 25.5% to KES22.75 billion ($208 million).

Partners: Nokia and Huawei have been chosen as the two technology partners for the 5G roll-out. For mobile internet customers, the service will be available on only select 5G smartphones from Samsung, Huawei and Nokia.

What changes can 5G make?

  • Safaricom hopes to ensure customers can enjoy speeds of up to 700 Megabits per second (Mbps), with plans to offer more than 1,000 Mbps in the coming months. It will also expand to more than 150 5G sites across nine towns over the next 12 months.

  •  5G provides fast internet in high-density areas and can link thousands of connected devices, which can aid ease of doing business.  

Meet Evelyn Nomayo

“Most of my educational background in Ireland is in the area of IT, and most of the time I would be the only one in the classroom or in work that is black and also female. That’s my inspiration for Phase Innovate,”

Those are the words of  Evelyn Nomayo. A founder of a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to bridging the gender and race gap in Stem (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields in Ireland.

The Nigerian-Irish web developer moved to Ireland in 2003 with an educational background in economics and statistics from Nigeria. She decided to be more ‘techy’ by securing a master’s degree in both computer science from University College Dublin and web technology from National College Ireland. Right now,  Evelyn is now a PhD research fellow at Trinity College Dublin.

Early last year, She entered six teams into the 2020 Technovation Girls, an annual competition that allows girls to tackle community issues through technology. Of the six teams she mentored and guided throughout the competition, four made it to the semi-finals. One of the teams made up of three Nigerian-Irish teenage girls eventually won the competition with an app called Memory Haven.

The dream team

Rachael Akano (16), Margaret Akano (17) and Joy Njekwe (17) created this app to support people living with dementia who need help with challenging memory losses, recognising friends and relatives as well as speaking. There are about 500,000+ people in Ireland whose families have been affected by dementia. The app has already received support from Microsoft but the girls are also expecting educational sponsorship along with Government funding to start up the app efficiently.

To compete in the 2020 virtual Technovation World Summit, 5,400 students from 62 countries created more than 1,500 mobile apps addressing problems ranging from Covid-19 to climate change. Eventually, they were whittled down to just 10 regional winners – five in the senior division and five in the junior division. Wow.

Way to go Evelyn!

Worth reading 📚

Quote 💭

“Doing your best might look different every day” - Unknown