AfDB advocates for stronger private sector engagement in broadband development in Africa

23/09/2014
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New York, September 22, 2014 – On the margins of the UN Climate Summit taking place in New York on September 23, representatives from the African Development Bank were invited to speak at the 10th Meeting of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development on September 21. The Commission is an advocacy organisation created in 2010 and co-chaired by Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Carlos Slim, Chairman of América Móvil.

The objective of the Commission is to shape the global agenda with the importance of broadband, the key to accelerating progress. Specifically, the 50 commissioners discussed progress towards the MDGs and gave their perspective about the future of the Internet in 2020. The purpose of the meeting was also to launch the report called The State of Broadband 2014 Report: Broadband for All, which evaluates the latest roll-out of broadband worldwide and the progress towards achieving the Commission’s targets.

The AfDB is strongly committed to the development of information and communications technology (ICT) on the continent has already undertaken a review of Africa’s progress in its 2013 Connect Africa Report. The report included an appraisal of broadband deployment in Africa. It noted that while African countries have made considerable progress in the ICT sector, they need to work harder to take the campaign to the next level, especially on creating the necessary enabling regulatory frameworks.

During this meeting of the Broadband Commission, Alex Rugamba, AfDB Director, Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department, represented the President of the African Development Bank insisted: "Although the fiber routes were extended by almost half from 2009 and 2011, it is still not sufficient for the African continent, as it is growing much faster. We need to do more, do our best to raise awareness about the value of broadband connectivity and do our best to take actions that will crowd in more private sector investment for ICT development."

The initiation of the SMART Africa Alliance chaired by President Kagame is critical, as highlighted by Rugamba. Using this initiative that brings together key public and private actors at a regional level, to foster a better understanding of ICT amongst those who do not otherwise consider the sector will see mobilisation of new resources for broadband for all.

Contacts
Technical: Nicholas Williams, Manager, ICT 4 Development, n.williams@afdb.org
Media: Penelope Pontet de Fouquières, Communications, Energy, Environment and Climate Change
Department, p.pontetdefouquieres@afdb.org