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Emerging Countries

As momentum builds in networking the continent, the benefits of connecting African communities become increasingly clear.

Imagine an Africa where farmers can always find the best price for their produce, where students in remote villages can interact with teachers thousands of miles away. Imagine an Africa where remote video consultations enable doctors to diagnose rural patients who would otherwise go untreated. Imagine an Africa where the great urban centers are safer for citizens thanks to modern surveillance systems. Imagine Africa Connected.

All of these advances are possible and in reach. And the good news is that they all utilize the same fundamental utility – a broadband network infrastructure and the high-speed Internet access it enables.
Today, broadband penetration across the continent is exceedingly low — at about one percent in some countries, even lower in others. Incredibly, South Africa is our most advanced with 3% penetration. By increasing the access of broadband, millions of Africans will benefit from the economic and social gains that broadband offers. One recent study by the Boston Consulting Group estimates that when Internet penetration rises by 10 percent in emerging economies, it correlates with an incremental GDP increase of one to two percent.

Yvon Le Roux, Vice President, Emerging Markets, Africa and Levant

All of these advances are possible and in reach. And the good news is that they all utilize the same fundamental utility – a broadband network infrastructure and the high-speed Internet access it enables.

Today, broadband penetration across the continent is exceedingly low — at about one percent in some countries, even lower in others. Incredibly, South Africa is our most advanced with 3% penetration. By increasing the access of broadband, millions of Africans will benefit from the economic and social gains that broadband offers. One recent study by the Boston Consulting Group estimates that when Internet penetration rises by 10 percent in emerging economies, it correlates with an incremental GDP increase of one to two percent.

The promise of broadband is clear. Countries that pursue connectivity will quickly move up the economic and social ladders. Those that don’t, risk being left behind. Now is the time to get Africa connected.

Strategies for Connecting African Communities

Reform Marketplace Policies and Regulations. Simply put, monopolies are
less likely to innovate and invest than companies actively competing.
Those countries that have made great strides in broadband connectivity
have jettisoned the regulatory framework designed for a
telecommunications monopoly. Instead, they’ve begun treating networks
as a critical competitive infrastructure. There is no denying that scalable,
secure, high-speed network connectivity is emerging as the fourth utility.
• Promote Entrepreneurial Development and Content. Often the most
effective method for success is helping others do what they do best.
Governments can create policies that help technology entrepreneurs
thrive. This includes promoting service provider competition and offering
incentives for the creation of Internet-based businesses and services. As
Brian Herilhy, president of SEACOM, the organization responsible for the
new fiber-optic cable system connecting Africa’s East Coast so poignantly
asked, “Why wouldn’t the next Bill Gates come from Africa?”
Rethink Government Services. Governments can accelerate the rate of
broadband adoption simply by making government services available
electronically. Governments can, for example, make it easier for small
businesses to register as a business, or eliminate the need for citizens to
travel to the nearest city to meet with permit officials. Governments can
also encourage connectivity in schools, colleges, universities, hospitals,
and clinics.
• Promote ICT Skills. Governments can help create the skilled workforce
needed to a support growing network infrastructure by funding the
teaching of Internet and Communications Technology in colleges, and by
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Executive Perspective
establishing programs to train new graduates. We are most proud of the role of the Cisco Network Academy Program, which is addressing the growing need for ICT professionals across Africa. Cisco boasts more than 1,100 Networking Academies across 49 countries in Africa and Levant, with more than 78,000 students — 30% of whom are female — and 1,900 00 instructors.
• Indirect Investment in Broadband Infrastructure. Unlike roads and highways, which are usually fully funded by governments, investments in broadband can be addressed through various creative forms. For example, governments can fill gaps through such measures as time-limited subsidies and tax incentives. They can also boost broadband efforts by providing significant cable rights-of way at little or no cost.

Here are a number of strategies that can be deployed at low cost to governments:

What are your thoughts about getting Africa connected?

 

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2 Comments.


  1. Quite an interesting article and views. With the improvement in connectivity in Africa and broadband penetration, we are going to see quite a bit of new businesses.And the entrepreneurial skills of some African young minds will be put to good use.

       0 likes

  2. The next big thing in African rural connectivity: The Rural Internet Kioskshttp://www.ntv.co.ke/News/-/471778/875910/-/view/DEFAULT/-/13v7ogwz/-/index.html

       0 likes

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