Towards improved access to broadband in Africa
There is consensus that broadband has become a key 21st century infrastructure for all countries. African countries are engaged in efforts to deploy this technology to develop and structurally transform their economies. They are formulating and implementing broadband strategies and policies as well as rolling out the infrastructure. This report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) aims to assist African countries in their efforts to formulate and implement policies. The report contains a number of recommendations, including recommendations on the way forward, for consideration and adoption by African Governments and their development partners.
The report consists of several chapters. This first chapter provides the background and context for the study. Chapter two reviews the state of broadband infrastructure and services in Africa, with specific emphasis on growth trends, penetration rates (both fixed and mobile broadband), access and usage, investment expenditure and business models that operators use and how these affect uptake and use of broadband services, including the issue of affordability.
Practically all African countries have adopted broadband policy as a means of driving the diffusion and uptake of the technology. Chapter three reviews the status of development of broadband policy and strategies in Africa and the various goals that countries set in extending access to broadband, including the various innovative policies and regulatory frameworks to enhance widespread and universal access and use. Chapter four contains an exploration of the role for broadband technology in fostering African regional integration and cooperation. It focuses on how regional strategies and policies, including harmonization of regulatory frameworks, are important in uptake and use of broadband on the continent and for enabling its special role in facilitating regional integration and cooperation.
Chapter five looks at pricing and regulation issues as the key determinant factors in the expansion and widespread adoption and use of broadband technology. Lastly, chapter six provides a summary of the findings and key recommendations for consideration by African policymakers and decision makers.