$8 bn for African ICT

Some US$8 billion was invested in developing Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in Africa in 2008. According to Nigeria’s Daily Independent newspaper (www.independentngonline.com) the Secretary-General of International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Hamadoun Toure, announced this at a recent African Telecom Development Summit 2009, held in Abuja, Nigeria, praising the advances of the last 10 years.

The report quotes Toure: ”It has been an extraordinary decade for Africa and it gives me great personal pleasure to see how the continent has taken huge steps forward in bringing connectivity to African people. Just ten years ago, virtually nobody in Africa had a mobile phone; today across the continent mobile cellular subscription teledensity has reached 32.6%, with some 250 million subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa” – creating enormous progress in Internet access.

Nigeria is the largest market, with over a quarter of all subscriptions. Toure says more than 30 mln Africans now have access to the Internet. Between 2000 and 2008, Nigeria alone has added 11 mln new Internet users, 40% of the new users in Africa. But Africa still lags in broadband access, with only 635,000 fixed broadband subscribers.

Toure is the first African elected as the Secretary-General of ITU, umbrella body of more than 700 telecommunications organizations. He called for developments in policy and regulatory frameworks and political will by African Governments to promote ICT roll-out.

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