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Submitted by Gelvanovska, Natalija on

Dear Benim, thanks for your insightful observation. Regarding 'why to invest in connectivity?' undoubtedly because of the reasons you cite; with growth in GDP and jobs At the front of the line. We see connectivity as a catalyst for economic growth and most countries in MENA have already identified broadband as a critical input to broader efforts in nation building and the transition to a knowledge-based economy. There is growing consensus that broadband Internet is a prerequisite for a modern economy and to foster sustainable economic development and job creation. Furthermore, it is strategic to the goals of enhancing job opportunities and reducing poverty in the region. The most recent studies are consistent with those conclusions. For instance, the most recent report conducted for Facebook and about the value of connectivity, argues that by expanding internet access in developing countries to levels seen today in developed economies, we could increase productivity by as much as 25 percent, generating $2.2 trillion in GDP and more than 140 million new jobs, lifting 160 million people out of poverty. The report also mentions affordability as the primary barrier to accelerated internet take-up.
Our study builds on this broad consensus. The objective of our work was to assess the status of development of broadband in MENA, to identify key bottlenecks to broadband expansion, and to offer suggestions on how to accelerate investment and the diffusion of broadband connectivity through supply-side measures. The focus of this study is therefore on infrastructure-related actions - and measures to stimulate the demand for broadband are therefore only touched upon.

Coming back to the EUR 25 Billion figure, up to 85% of those investments will come from the private sector; only the remaining 25% from the public sector. Public sector investment has a huge catalytic effect on the private sector, in pushing broadband outside of the more commercial areas and towards rural areas, and towards low income families. The telecom sector in MENA already has most of the resources needed in universal access funds that are currently not well utilized across the region: as a consequence, the commitment of true public sector money would be a small part of the EUR 25 Billion. Against this commitment you get all of the benefits mentioned above, i.e. giving schools access to knowledge, creating jobs, bringing connecting rural communities, etc.