Africa must embrace digital infrastructure governance. PPPs can help


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Mainland contour Africa in technological style
Mainland contour Africa in technological style | Marochkina Anastasiia, Shutterstock

Africa stands at a decisional threshold regarding the development of sustainable digital infrastructure. At the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF) last week, numerous leaders called for sustainable, resilient development supported by collaborative partnerships between the public and private sectors.

These are exactly the kind of partnerships that will help drive Africa into the digital infrastructure sector, as its leaders aim to bridge the continent’s fragmented economic development space and help landlocked countries benefit from pan-African economic growth. It also goes without saying that realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that speak to decent work, innovation, as well as sustainable cities and communities, must embrace strategies that have strong institutions and partnerships at their base.

Wait, who’s responsible here?

One of the reports from the WEF asked an important question: “Who is responsible for developing the digital infrastructure that society now counts on to support the exponentially growing traffic that uses it."

Indeed, digital infrastructure will not get built without foresight, planning, investment, and innovation  —and many, many stakeholders are involved. We also know that—worldwide— there are serious impediments that constrain the development of digital infrastructure and without new approaches those constraints will not be relieved.

What can Africa bring?

I’d like to consider what new approaches can be embraced in particular by Africa, and who the innovative custodians of these approaches might be.

I firmly believe that both the public and private sectors can remove impediments hindering the growth of digital infrastructure and find ways to modernize policies to encourage investment and innovation throughout the digital infrastructure ecosystem.  And I believe this can be achieved through long-term working agreements formalized through public-private partnerships (PPPs). 

Why PPPs?

PPPs are contractual agreements where the public and private sectors collaborate on the delivery of services or goods. In this engagement, both sides share risks; innovations and efficiencies are embraced; and the private sector is incentivized to deliver a well-defined set of deliverables. 

The engagement of the public and private sectors through PPPs can deliver Africa from the digital infrastructure development inertia that exists in much of its territory. This will require an enabling environment for dedicated public and private sector champions that addresses the challenges of digital infrastructure development head-on. It must address:

  • Strategies that embrace technology leapfrogging
  • Obsolescence that threatens private sector investments
  • Protection of intellectual property
  • Innovative financing
  • Apathy toward partnerships that embrace private sector innovation
  • The role of independent regulators who can play a constructive role in licensing of the internet and user fees, in addition to regulating state monopolies
  • Harmonization of laws and regulations (domestically and internationally) that allow transnational companies to deliver digital infrastructure

Transnational digital infrastructure challenges

To my last point, when transnational digital infrastructure development is considered, challenges are elevated to a higher level. In 2014, the WEF had already addressed the challenges of transnational infrastructure projects in Africa. These are questions identified then:

  • Who will own and manage transnational digital infrastructure (that is, governments or the private sector)?
  • How will transnational agreements be reached between domestically-focused national regulators on differing development priorities?
  • Is there a role for state-owned telecommunication enterprises?
  • How will cybersecurity interests and the integrity of national networks be balanced?
  • Where will the physical foundational elements of digital infrastructure be located and how will the cyberspace elements be shared?

Some ideas for solutions

These solutions would contribute to an environment that promotes the development of transnational digital infrastructure:

  • Avoid unnecessary territorializing of the digital infrastructure space that leaves landlocked countries vulnerable.
  • Collaborate with transnational digital infrastructure institutions that can address the typical policy environments that are conducive for PPPs.
  • Work closely with international multi-stakeholder associations such as the World Wide Web Consortium, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, and the International Telecommunication Union to harmonize approaches.
  • Embrace the role that innovative companies can play.
  • Modernize government institutions and strengthen independent regulators who can implement harmonized strategies and laws for the good of all African nations.
  • Accept PPPs that are forward-looking, sustainable, and resilient (in other words, obsolescence shockproof).
  • Address users’ needs in an approach that focus on the customer.
  • Allow global market forces to gently push when there may be national government intransigence.

I recognize this last point is likely loaded. But it’s important that governments embrace proactive strategies for the development of transnational digital infrastructure, or—make no mistake—their economies will suffer in isolation. Additionally, as they increasingly define the digital infrastructure ecosystem in partnership with the private sector, users should be heard.

Disclaimer: The content of this blog does not necessarily reflect the views of the World Bank Group, its Board of Executive Directors, staff or the governments it represents. The World Bank Group does not guarantee the accuracy of the data, findings, or analysis in this post.


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This blog is managed by the Infrastructure Finance, PPPs & Guarantees Group of the World Bank. Learn more about our work here.

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Mohamed Saleh
February 04, 2020

The SDGs are a bold commitment to finish what we started and tackle some of the more pressing challenges facing the world today because all 17 Goals interconnect, meaning success in one affects success for others. We need to go the last mile on ending hunger, achieving full gender equality, improving health services and getting every child into school beyond primary, The SDGs are also an urgent call to shift the world onto a more sustainable path. Billions of dollars now spent to curb illegal migration and human trafficking, if spent on new innovations, will open up new jobs for people after that, no one will think of illegal migration and death or imprisonment, Africa has been hit particularly hard by the global road safety crisis. Also, security and transport are two sides of a single coin, called sustainable development society, because the spread of security among people requires rapid movement everywhere without accidents, as will reducing transport accidents contribute strongly to facilitate the movement, workers, goods and all the necessities of life, A 50% reduction in road accidents can increase a country's wealth by 22%.
Safe transition is the first engine of sustainable development society strongly to the preservation of people's lives for easy communication between the developed peoples and the marginalized and poor people in remote places away from the big cities because there are no paved roads sufficient to allow the movement of a large number of people were to the establishment of the paved roads with illumination costs the budgets of these countries large sums of money that these countries cannot provide. to spread health awareness and help in the treatment of diseases and the dissemination of science and equality among the woman's and men's to provide employment opportunities for all individuals in these disenfranchised communities, to stop ignorance of customs this is the most important goal of gender equality in treatment, science, and employment. All women and children have the right to basic education, the world has cut the number of women and children without an education in half, this progress must extend to the over 50 million still left out. Educated and healthy woman and children will lead their communities out of poverty and build the thriving nations of tomorrow
Africa is a continent where there is much wealth, but many of the poor live in remote villages far from urban areas, however, there are no roads that are paved and luminous enough to move safely overnight because no new roads have been established to accommodate the continuous population increase, to reduce poverty for women for economic and social integration, Also, there are no bright roads that allow safe overnight travel of specialized medical personnel to carry out full disease immunization operations to raise health awareness and complete immunization against all infectious diseases such as AIDS and Ebola among these poor communities that do not have the money to travel to hospitals in big cities, Especially sick children and elderly people who cannot move and pregnant women who cannot afford to travel on unlit rough roads at night are extremely crowded during the day and they also make sure that women have access to life-saving medicines during childbirth. Jean Todt, the UN special envoy for road safety, said at the "Africa Road Safety 2017" conference in Cape Town, South Africa, at least 650 people are killed daily in road accidents across Africa. According to him, 90 percent of people and goods on the African continent are transported by land, adding that road accidents "can deprive any country of its true development potential". The continent suffers from the highest rate of traffic deaths on roads from any other country. The region, though owned less than 5% of the world's registered vehicles, still has 20% of the world's road accidents. "Therefore, Africa has been severely affected by the crisis of safety on world roads.
Manufacturing an invention of a device that provides powerful lighting for all types of vehicles using light tubes without dazzled for the actual application of a sustainable society.
I’m from Egypt at Africa, I have two inventions were implemented to develop the night lighting system, patents No, 26771 / 2011 (Extra Spotlights through Xenon, Laser or LED Bulb) and patent No, 29238 / 2014 (A device that provides powerful lighting for all types of vehicles using lights tubes without dazzled) Issued by the Academy of Scientific Research in Cairo Egypt The United Nations’ Global Goal 3 focuses on achieving good health and well-being for all — and vaccines, which save millions of lives every year,
Towards reduce the killing of one million and 350,000 people are killed annually in road accidents (3,500 deaths daily worldwide as well. Every 6 seconds somebody somewhere in the world is killed suddenly and dramatically by injuries of up to five million deaths a year! Total victims reach approximately 6 million people per year (even if the accident reduction rate is 1%, life will be maintained at 60,000 people per year), also causing material losses of $500 billion (if a 10% a pause occurs, $50 billion will be available to change the global economy annually)

To develop the installation of the lighting place in a very narrow area directly in the front, it is not allowed to install a device to control of light away from the eyes of others, causing extreme confusion on vision since the first invention of the 1886 till now, where Light flows by speed 300,000 m/s to strike the force of human and animal eye nerve and the uncles temporary he the main reason for the increase of incidents the night. Is done by installation inside of body vehicle to the rear is far from the front (An invention of a device that provides powerful lighting for all types of vehicles using lights tubes without dazzled) to control such glow on, then redirected to the front for radiate through the Tubes of lights within it a nanotechnology-treated lighting element, to support and increase the power of lighting without dazzled, with the diffusion of light at a near-Earth horizontal level in all directions, they are installed inside the projector at specific angles and degrees to control the direction of light away from the vision of others, by optical sensors, one mounted at the driver's view level and the other above the light exit slot, They communicate with each other a special mobile device system(The ‘mobile edge)’ to signal a motor that moves the projector from the rear up or down to change the angle of the light output from the front at a specific level of the light sensor installed in the vehicle by the driver below the eye level automatic 200 meters after which the dazzled light is lost, for steering the light is far from the other driver's vision level to prevent light dazzled interference traditional. (There are also other elements that will be explained later) The invention controls at the dazzled lights when approaching the cars each other the strong headlights become very painful because they cause severe interference to the vision, as they approach each other, leading to a complete loss of vision and forcing the two drivers to turn off the strong lights and walk only in the light of small lights so that each car can Is away from the collision of the two vehicles and without disturbing the vision of the road to each of the leaders of the two vehicles to the other where this causes the loss of focus to make a safe decision. Also when the fog suddenly falls, the powerful foreground lighting used in all the vehicles become very confusing because the fog is made up of small atoms of water vapor, When the light collides with it, Which consists of contiguous straight photons at speeds of m/s 300,000, to collide with steam atoms and move them between them at the same speed and as a result of the heat of friction between them are divided into parts moving very quickly to become a curtain prevents vision, so we find the fog moving at the brightness of the light and then evaporates, Therefore the invention controls the high level of light from the Earth so that the movement of fog water vapor atoms) is far from the level of view of the driver and others.

Considering to the importance of the invention that was made on the international arena to reduce the accidents of night vehicles due to the problems of night lighting system that is now used in all vehicles, I promise that cooperation between us to implement this invention will be a great way to contribute Stop to the most serious vehicle accidents.
The last attend I received from; 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety: “Achieving Global Goals 2030”,,,, Dear friends of road safety, On behalf of the Government of Sweden, and in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), I have a great pleasure and the honour to invite you to participate in the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety, "Achieving Global Goals 2030” that will take place on 19--2 February 2020 in Stockholm, Sweden.
Likewise, I received an invitation to confirm to join the SDG World Festival, which will be held from 1-3 April 2020 at the World Conference Center in Bonn, Germany. Where each of the festival leaders is an active participant, contributor, and participant in the creation of important content and talks that will take place in the event. The SDG Global Business Festival is a flagship annual event supported by the United Nations SDG Action campaign with support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Federal Ministry of Foreign Office.

The invention proves the close relationship between strong vehicle lights dazzled at night, which violate darkness of the sky with environmental pollution of lights and global warming to reduce climate change and pollution caused by the spread of optical dazzled have a direct adverse effect on human health, Because the lack of attention to this pollution has devastating effects on all life and increase the climatic changes and natural disasters as the report, Short-lived climate pollutants, such as methane, black carbon, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)and tropospheric ozone have a powerful effect on global temperatures and many are also damaging air pollutants for example; methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming impact 86 times higher than that of carbon dioxide over a 20-year time horizon, It is also the largest precursor to ground-level ozone a major component of smog, which can worsen bronchitis and asthma and damage lung tissue, Troposphere ozone exposure alone is responsible for an estimated one million premature deaths each year. All these pollutants increase strongly when exposed to strong lighting and evaporate to rise in the Earth's atmosphere.
Also have a direct adverse effect on the natural environment for the life of insects working on the pollination of crops for continued agricultural production without the cost, such as bees endangered and poor production of food is very important for human health.
What is Light Pollution? Most of us are familiar with air, water, and land pollution, but did you know that light can also be a pollutant? The inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light – known as light pollution – can have serious environmental consequences for humans, wildlife, and our climate. By joining IDA you can make a difference in protecting our Planet, saving billions of dollars in wasted energy, and connecting future generations with our legacy of starry skies.

Anumakonda Jagadeesh
February 04, 2020

A public–private partnership (PPP, 3P, or P3) is a cooperative arrangement between two or more public and private sectors, typically of a long-term nature. It involves an arrangement between a unit of government and a business that brings better services or improves the city’s capacity to operate effectively. Public–private partnerships are primarily used for infrastructure provision, such as the building and equipping of schools, hospitals, transport systems, and water and sewerage systems. PPPs have been highly controversial as funding tools, largely over concerns that public return on investment is lower than returns for the private funder. PPPs are closely related to concepts such as privatization and the contracting out of government services. The lack of a shared understanding of what a PPP is makes the process of evaluating whether PPPs have been successful complex. Evidence of PPP performance in terms of value for money and efficiency, for example, is mixed and often unavailable. Common themes of PPPs are the sharing of risk and the development of innovation.
Public–private partnerships with non-profits and private partners have seen a large increase over the years, in part because local and state governments rely heavily on the growing number of non-profits to provide many public services. Neighborhood organizations or small and local non-profits saw a broad source of funding during the early years, but there has been a shift in funding more recently, reducing the overall funding and seeing more of it go to larger agencies focusing on large grants.
With the rise in public–private partnerships, there is also a rise in the responsibility that non-profits tend to hold. With some governments relying on many more of these organizations to provide public services, it is proving difficult for the government to hold non-profits responsible. Too many projects and partnerships can also lead to a lack of accountability. A lack of defined accountability roles can also lead to some taking advantage of others, causing a distrustful partnership. Many partnerships can be terminated early due to issues with trust and cooperation during the contract implementation process. These issues can be avoided when the organization has initial guidelines for dos and don'ts, a continuous commitment to negotiations in times of trouble, and even an outline for termination procedures if necessary(Wikipedia).
When entering into a cross-sector partnership, problems may arise due to differences between the cultures of government, industry, and non-profits. Items like performance measures, goal measurements, government regulations, and the nature of funding can all be interpreted differently, causing blurred communication. Conflicts can also be related to territorialism or protectionism and a lack of commitment to working within the partnership. A business partnership model would not be accurate or appropriate for a P3.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India