All things Africa and ICT

This page in:

I've just run across a spate of items on the development of ICT in Africa; although it could just be coincidence, I suspect there's been a growing interest in this topic in the development community.

First off, Africa Telecom News has just come out with an Africa Mobile Factbook (Hat tip: White African). The report is free - well, if you discount the time needed to take a required survey - but the factbook offers up some interesting statistics. Figure 1 (below) shows that mobile penetration has grown markedly, and they're predicting continuing growth in this sector. White African also points out much of this development is local: "Most of the mobile operators are home-grown. In 2005, the continent’s seven largest investors controlled 53% of the African mobile market."


Another report from the World Bank and infoDev looks at just what it's going to take for Africa to catch up in the next category of telecommunications - broadband. In Broadband for Africa, author Mark Williams points out that "[t]he broadband access gap between Sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of the world is getting wider, just as the gap in basic voice communications is getting smaller." Broadband costs far more in Sub-Saharan Africa than it does in any other part of the world; Williams cites a figure of US$366 per month in Sub-Saharan Africa, compared to US$40 per month in Europe. Williams's paper focuses on strategies for improving Africa's backbone network development. If not dealt with, the backbone network could prove a serious bottleneck for further ICT development.


And finally, Muriuki Mureithi makes a plea for equitable access to ICTs. As part of a conference sponsored by the Association for Progressive Communications, Mureithi wrote about Business models for equitable access (Hat tip: Giulio Quaggiotto). One of the more interesting bits is a description of Kenya's strenuous efforts to vault itself into the internet age:

After waiting for decades, Kenyans will have more than one submarine and terrestrial fibre to choose from, courtesy of a combination of government and private sector initiatives. The country is now engaged in four submarine fibre projects, with some completion dates as early as the last quarter of 2008...These initiatives wean Kenya away from exclusive reliance on satellite or microwave, so that it can reap the benefits of the information society. It is a radical transformation of the Kenyan ICT scene, and a leap of faith into the optic era.


Ryan Hahn

Operations Officer

Join the Conversation

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly
Remaining characters: 1000