Information and Communications Technology have played an enormous role in the economic growth of sub-Saharan Africa. Since the 1990’s sub-Saharan Africa has seen an absolute boom in mobile telecommunications. Market liberalization – which opened the door for 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 African countries.
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 and the lack of competitive access to submarine cables keeps the price of international voice calls and Internet connectivity high.
(Source: AICD - Africa’s Infrastructure: A Time for Transformation)
ICT InvestmenPicture – Latest Figures from 2012
During 2012, ICA members reported just $182m in commitments to ICT projects in Africa. North Africa received most of those commitments ($55m) followed closely by Eastern Africa ($53m), and the Republic of South Africa ($37m).
Central Africa received just $15m in investments – which shadows the meagre $4m and $2m in commitments that went to Southern and Western Africa.
In 2012 only four ICA members made ICT hard infrastructure commitments – with The World Bank providing a total of $91m – and much smaller amounts coming from DBSA, the United Kingdom and The U.S.
The ICA does not currently have an Information and Communications Technology champion or an ICT Platform, however in 2012 the ICA Secretariat reached out to several private sector organizations as well as a potential G20 partner to discuss the possibility of championing this critical infrastructure area.
The ICA funded the African Infrastructure Country Diagnostic (AICD), a comprehensive World Bank study to assess the magnitude of Africa’s infrastructure needs. The 2009 AICD Flagship report Africa's Infrastructure: A Time for Transformation revealed many important ICT challenges for Africa. This Flagship study and all the knowledge tools associated with it provided the platform for the AIKP, (African Infrastructure Knowledge Programme) an African Development Bank managed initiative that aims to build on the work of the AICD by collecting relevant statistics about infrastructure in Africa.
Source: ICA. For more detailed information and the latest figures on ICT in Africa, consult the 2012 Annual Report, Infrastructure Financing Trends in Africa
For more information about specific ICT activities in Africa, please visit ICA News/ICT