Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


African ministers agree on mobile broadband plan

09 September 2013, 07:28Duncan Alfreds

Cape Town - Government ministers and the GSMA have signed an agreement to expand mobile access and accelerate broadband penetration across Sub-Saharan Africa.

On Saturday, the GSMA met Ministers from countries including Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia to agree to a set of common priorities to expand broadband access across the region.

"The provision of universal broadband access is vital in driving economic growth and improving the quality of life in Botswana and across Southern Africa," said Nonofo E Molefhi, Minister of Transport and Communication for Botswana.

Expansion of cable broadband is limited in Africa despite the number of high-speed broadband services available on the continent.

Most of the infrastructure remains unaffordable or unavailable for home users, mainly because of a lack of so-called "last mile" infrastructure.

Mobile broadband

It is expected that the future growth in mobile broadband penetration will primarily be centred on mobile users, particularly in developing countries.

"With greater co-ordination between regional governments and between the public and private sectors, mobile broadband can play a critical role in closing the digital divide," said Molefhi.

The GSMA said that the mobile ecosystem currently contributes 6.3% of GDP across Sub-Saharan Africa and could grow to 8.2% by 2020 with the right policies to encourage investment.

"Today's meeting has created a solid foundation for further co-operation between the public and private sectors. The meeting demonstrated the close alignment of all parties regarding the goal of providing universal access to broadband services," said Tom Phillips, chief officer of Government and Regulatory Affairs at the GSMA.

The National Broadband Policy for South Africa proposed by former communication minister Dina Pule calls for "universal service and access to reliable, affordable and secure broadband services by all citizens prioritising rural and under-serviced areas".

Broadband access can potentially accelerate economic growth but the allocation of spectrum with regard to mobile broadband has become controversial as policymakers dither over the allocation.


The agreement specifies that countries will commit themselves to Joint Task Force that will co-ordinate the efforts of stakeholders in the rollout of mobile broadband, a manifesto for digital inclusion, and a review of all regulations and policies that may be adapted to accelerating digital rollout.

The GSMA wants the rollout of broadband to be free of political interference so that people could have increased access to services.

"Get the politics out of mobile, this is about creating jobs; this is about growing your economies; this is about helping the bottom of the pyramid. Fixed line connectivity is not going to achieve that," Peter Lyons GSMA director for spectrum policy in Africa and the Middle East told News24 recently.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

- News24


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...