In collaboration with partner universities in Africa and Finland, the African School of Economics (ASE) today announced the launch of Africa’s first 5G Mokki Tech Space, a network of immersive digital learning and remote work environments connected via fifth-generation mobile communication technology.
In addition to its campuses in Benin and Ivory Coast, the modular tech spaces will take the ASE’s presence to remote areas, helping local communities leapfrog access to high-technology education, remote job creation and digital entrepreneurship.
Disadvantages in access to technology is seen as the main cause of economic inequality in the world.
The satellite model of the ASE’s tech spaces can help prevent various African regions and remote areas from falling behind in, for example, the innovation and acceleration of products and services powered by artificial intelligence.
The 5G Mokki is a modular high-tech unit for developing software applications that require ultra-fast internet connections, to render immersive, three-dimensional (3D), virtual-reality (VR) and augmented-reality (AR) learning environments, as well as to deliver innovation services and remote work from and to any location in the world.
The name ‘Mokki’ is derived from the Finnish word ‘mökki’, meaning ‘cottage’. The concept of the 5G cottage was pioneered in collaboration between leading American and Finnish universities.
5G Seasonal School
In partnership with Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, the University of Lusaka in Zambia, as well Aalto University and LUT University in Finland, the ASE announced its 5G Mokki Tech Space at the occasion of the 5G Seasonal School which is being held simultaneously in Nigeria, Ethiopia and Zambia this week.
The tech spaces enable new types of trans-continental studies combining technology and business.
At a panel discussion at the seasonal school, hosted by the Start North learning network, education, business and technology experts from Africa, the United States and Europe suggested that if renowned institutions like Stanford University would allocate one percent of their curricula to applied technology studies in collaboration with top universities in Africa, this was bound to have a very significant positive impact on entrepreneurship and job creation, as well as on economic, social and ecological sustainability.
Professor Leonard Wantchekon, founder of the African School of Economics and a Visiting Professor at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, emphasized that Africa needs innovation in education to create talent and jobs.
Mr. Cosmas Zavazava, Director of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), highlighted the potential of universities’ 5G learning and innovation environments in tailoring the development of new products and services to local requirements.
Ms. Riina Subra, Director of Finland’s Aalto University Global Impact programme and Head of the EDUCase platform, brought up the need for student-oriented education methods to bring more effectiveness to education in the sub-Saharan region.
EDUCase platform brings together 26 Finnish higher education institutions with academic and societal partners in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia to deepen collaboration for sustainability in higher education and innovation.
Professor of practice Lauri Järvilehto of Aalto University talked about Finnish best practices in entrepreneurship studies.
Mr. Chukwuka Igboanua from LUT University elaborated on student-oriented Finnish university education and creating personal learning paths that anticipate the market. The discussion also highlighted the high competence of Finnish universities of applied sciences and the individual study paths they enable, especially for the needs of Africa.
Mr. Obinna Obiwulu sees the 5G Mokki Tech Space as combining both education and research close to companies and the market.
5G Mokki is a trademark of Start North, an association that serves as an accelerator network to promote the learning and application of new technologies in order to meet the challenges of global sustainable development.
The accelerator network consists of world-leading universities, companies, and not-for-profit organizations including Ambitious Africa, an initiative bringing African and Nordic youth together to take Africa to the next level.
10 to 100 times faster connections
High-speed networks between Africa and North-America provide great opportunities to universities, companies, individuals and households on both continents.
With remote services and operations carried out over digital networks, regions will be able to develop economically by allocating their resources more efficiently. Less need for travel also helps in promoting socially and ecologically sustainable development.
Compared to the technology standards preceding it, fifth-generation wireless communication technology will enable data connections that are a hundred times faster on mobile devices and ten times faster than the fastest fixed broadband services currently.
Its true potential lies in enabling entirely new categories of applications. Think remote control of drones, self-driving cars and complex industrial processes. Think remote surgery. Think remote work and meetings in virtual or augmented reality. Think remote learning. The operative word is “remote”.
Africa’s powerhouse potential
5G’s ability to make the world a smaller place is Africa’s opportunity.
With its natural resources, young population and growing markets, Africa has the potential to become a productivity powerhouse. Corporations anywhere in the world will find access to technologically skilled labor and services from Africa via high-touch, 5G-enabled remote connections in real time.
At the launch event of a 5G Mökki network at Häme University in Finland, in October 2021, Dr. Mark Nelson, founder and Director of Innovation at the Stanford Peace Innovation Lab, drew parallels between the high-tech cottage, the invention of the microscope in biology and the telescope in space research, allowing the exploration of social interaction and society without people having to travel from one place to another.
Without innovative approaches to training and job creation, traditional degree-based education falls short of creating sufficient employment opportunities. To illustrate this point, approximately half a million students graduate from Cameroon’s universities every year, but only some three thousand of these graduates tend to find employment. Cameroon is no exception in Africa.
The 5G Mokkis provide an opportunity for international corporations to tap into highly skilled, young African talent, not only to deliver remote work but also to spur innovation.