Africa in the Digital Age

Published on 11th September 2012

We have witnessed for the last decade, one of the most growing rate in the world especially in the voice market. This growth will continue. By 2018, the investment share in this sector will represent around 35% of the total investment both public and private in the infrastructure.

2015 is the year in which Africa  is expected  to have achieved the Millennium Development Goals as well as the switch-over from analogue to digital transmissions. This will bring with it the potentials of the digital dividend.

 Building the Africa’s information Society

In the era of convergence, we need to move to more coherent and better coordinated approach for the development of all subsectors of the communications and information technologies.

Africa has done well in the voice market segment. Most of the population is now in the reach of a phone. While continuing to enhance this segment, it is now imperative to start the development of other segments by introducing and developing transformative applications in the area of education, health, government services, agriculture, financial transactions and so on...

•We need to develop one consolidated framework for the information and information technologies by merging ARAPKE and the reference Framework adopted respectively in 2006 and 2008

•We need to consider and forward to the AU Assembly the African Union Convention on Cyber-security for adoption and later to the Member States for ratification.

•We need to accelerate the Migration to the digital terrestrial TV transmission before 2015 while ensuring that there will be one standard adopted for Africa and will have a common approach for the digital dividend for better integration.

• We need to adopt the decision for the migration from IPv4 to IPv6 to allow us to have more IP addresses to benefit from the Internet.

•We need to collaborate to implement the ongoing Projects on Internet Exchange Systems–AXIS within the 30 identified countries and on Africa Leadership on ICT to be expanded to other Africa regions following the first cohort we have just trained.

•We need to ensure that the Pan African e-Network for Tele-medicine and tele education will continue it performance in e-education and e-health after the end of technical assistance from India in 2014.

•And finally we need to better coordinate our action to optimize our resources and serve the integration of our continent

The future of ICT is at a turning point with the planned revision of the International Telecommunications Regulations-ITRs. Africa’s position must be then prominent in this debate. Africa must be present and contribute to the World Conference on Information Technologies. We hope that world will come to a compromise as for the governance of Internet and for the business plan of the new information and communication technologies.

The landscape of Communications and Information and Communication will certainly change in the next two years. While the forecasting for our continent is calling for a lot of hope, it is vital for the continent to deploy all necessary actions in order to meet those forecasting in term of development of infrastructure and services. Communications and information Technology will certainly transform Africa driving its renaissance. That will be the e-Renaissance of Africa. We can achieve does it and we shall achieve it!!!

By H.E Dr. Elham M.A. Ibrahim,
Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy of  the African Union Commission.

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