Telecoms in Africa – November 2013

November 11th, 2013, Published in Articles: EngineerIT

By Matthew White

Internet contributes US$18-billion to Africa’s GDP

The contribution of the internet to the growth of Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) is about $18-billion and growing, according to a new study, Lions Go Digital, conducted by global consultancy McKinsey & Co and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The study covers the top 14 countries that together account for about 90% of Africa’s GDP. About half of urban Africans are online, says the study report, despite limited infrastructure and disposable incomes. This is significantly lower than the contribution in other emerging markets and developed markets. The study says the Internet and rollout of broadband have the potential to make a massive impact in Africa, and could contribute hundreds of billions of dollars to GDP, have a transformative impact in key economic sectors, support a step-change in education and health outcomes, and strengthen public services. To achieve these gains, however, leaders in both government and business will need to make bold commitments to growth, and raise innovation and investment to unprecedented levels.

Rwanda summit adopts “Smart Africa” manifesto

African countries that attended the recent Transform Africa 2013 Summit in Kigali have adopted a manifesto that seeks to ensure leaders place ICT at the core of their national socio-economic development agendas. The manifesto, which was adopted at the conclusion of the four-day summit, is designed to enhance capacity to develop ICTs, improving accountability and transparency. It envisages the private sector at the engine of economic transformation, promoting cost-effective technology. Rwandan Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi urged delegates to “scale up our commitment toward the objectives underlined in the manifesto. Building from the remarkable progress achieved since 2007 while leveraging broadband in our communities will drive us towards sustainable development.

Angola sets goal of at least 12-million mobile phone users by 2017

Angola’s Minister of Telecommunications & Information Technology, José Carvalho da Rocha, said the government’s goal is to achieve more than 12-million mobile phone users – 57% of the population – by 2017. The actual number could reach as high as 14-million, he said.

Investment in ICT will reduce Africa’s poverty, says ITU boss

The private sector should invest more in the ICT industry as increased connectivity will help transform the continent, create jobs and reduce poverty, according to ITU secretary-general Dr. Hamadou Toure. “Why should Africa depend on donations and foreign aid? he asked. “What the continent needs is a private sector that will invest in the continent to create jobs, increase household incomes and assist in skills development, not foreign aid,” he told delegates to the recent Transform Africa Summit in Kigali. Rwanda. ITU regional director for Africa, Andrew Rugege, said it is not the job of governments to engage in business, rather they need to ensure a conducive business environment, especially laws that support the private sector.

Ethiopian customs to confiscate US$13-million of equipment from Huawei

Ethiopia’s Revenues & Customs Authority is to confiscate US$13-million worth of equipment imported late last year by Chinese telecoms company Huawei Technologies. The equipment was allegedly imported in the name of Ethio Telecom without the state-owned telco’s knowledge. The measure follows investigations by the Ethiopian Shipping & Logistics Service Enterprise, Ethiopian Cargo and the House of People’s Representatives. Only three months ago, Ethio Telecom signed a US 800m telecoms expansion deal with Huawei.

Malawi’s digital network will be ready by end November, says govt

The government of Malawi says it is on schedule to launch the country’s digital broadcasting network by 30 November 2013. Ministry of Information digital-migration co-ordinator Dennis Chirwa told the Malawi News Agency that equipment installation has already begun in the capital, Lilongwe, which will host the main control centre. Malawi has set 30 November as the digital switch-on date, and 31 December 2013 as the analogue switch-off date. This is ahead of the 17 June 2015 international deadline for countries to to move from analogue to digital broadcasting.

Telecom Namibia connects to German platform

Telecom Namibia has joined forces with German Internet provider Deutscher Commercial internet exchange (De-CIX) and New Telco SA, a Jasco Group company, to establish international access points in South Africa and Namibia to the German Internet exchange (DE-CIX). This follows the establishment by Telecom Namibia in partnership with New Telco SA to establish points of presence in South African and European communication hubs last year. The access points will connect to the De-CIX Apollon platform, the world’s largest Internet Exchange, providing direct access for Namibia and South Africa to more than 550 networks connected to the De-CIX node. Jasco will provide the physical platform to enable this interconnection. The establishment of this internet exchange is expected to deliver multiple benefits to Telecom Namibia customers and the local economy.

Nigeria sets tone for African telecoms regulators

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has hosted telecoms regulators from across the African continent, tasking them with the need put subscribers at the heart of regulations. NCC executive vice-chairman/ Dr. Eugene Juwah said though the potential for growth in telecoms sector on the continent is huge, the growth and the shift of emphasis from licensing to other obligations such as consumer protection have increased both the scope and complexity of regulating telecoms. He said the further growth envisaged in the sector can be achieved only if regulators across the continent come together and cross-pollinate ideas on how to deliver better regulations that will give consumers pride of place.

MTN Zambia boosts internet speed

MTN Zambia has increased its internet speed following its connection to the West Africa Cable System the submarine communications cable which links to the UK along the west coast of Africa. The company’s chief marketing officer, Clement Asante, said the increase in internet speed to 42 Mbps makes MTN Zambia the fastest mobile data network in the country.

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