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Business News of Monday, 13 November 2017

Source: Matilda Ofei Akoto

Connectivity, Affordability and Accessibility key focus for Africa’s digital inclusivity - ATU

African Telecommunications Union (ATU) has highlighted the importance of connecting rural and remote areas in Africa to economic opportunities at AfricaCom held in Cape Town, saying that connectivity, affordability and accessibility key focus for Africa’s digital inclusivity and rural network coverage.

Secretary General of ATU Abdoulkarim Soumaila said at ICT Africa forum during the premier Pan-African technology, telecoms and media event that, connectivity has the potential to positively impact and transform people’s lives in a number of areas, including health, education and financial services and agriculture.

“All people must be able to access the Internet in order to exercise and enjoy their rights to a better quality of life, dignity and equality.” Abdoulkarim said.

Statistics from GSMA shows that approximately 53% of the world’s population is still unconnected. Four-fifths of this unconnected population are located in Asia-Pacific and in Africa. On average, 69% of the African population do not have access to the Internet, with many of those unconnected living in rural areas.

Abdoulkarim stated that there is a definite need for smarter strategies and co-operation amongst the various stakeholders to ensure digital Inclusivity.

“In order to make rural connectivity a reality, governments and stakeholders need to make it a priority. It is necessary to develop suitable networks at an appropriate time and gradually overlay infrastructure and services until the ultimate goal of an ICT Society and Knowledge Economy is achieved.” Abdoulkarim said.

The forum with the theme, “Build a Better Connected Africa – How to Accelerate the Development of ICT Systems” was attended by government officials including communication ministers from South Africa, Angola, Ghana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, representatives from GSMA, Deloitte, Huawei and Telco Operators in Sub-Saharan region.