ICT Financing Needs and Trends
Key facts on ICT
- Sub-Saharan Africa has witnessed dramatic growth in ICT access since the mid-1990s, mainly in mobile telecommunications.
- Market liberalization leading to private investment has been the main driver of the mobile revolution, but liberalization remains far from complete.
- As mobile penetration has swelled, growth in fixed telephone lines has stagnated in most countries, and even turned negative in some.
- Given the private sector’s success at delivering ICT services, it is striking that half of the fixed-line operators in Africa remain in public hands, despite their poor performance.
- Broadband service is still in its infancy owing to limited availability of backbone infrastructure.
- Lack of competitive access to submarine cables keeps the price of international voice calls and Internet connectivity high.
Commitments to the ICT sector in 2010, by region
The ICT sector continued to receive the smallest amount of finance from ICA members, with total commitments of US$0.26bn, accounting for only 1% of total commitments to infrastructure in 2010. Northern Africa received the majority of the commitments, with US$71m, as shown in the figure below. Historically, contributions to the ICT sector have been around US$200m, but peaked in 2009 at US$700m. PPIAF data shows a clear focus of the private sector for ICT projects with more than 90% of total commitments. The detailed list in Annex 8 of the ICA 2010 Annual Report provides further information on total ICA member commitments.
ICA Funding to the ICT Sector by African Region, 2006-2010, in millions US$
Source ICA. For the latest figures on all sectors, consult the 2010 ICA Annual Report.
In 2003 the NEPAD E-Africa Commission presented the proposed East Africa Submarine Cable System Project, deemed essential to providing broadband access to countries along the East African coast.