News & insights
Date: July 2023 | Sector: Communications, media & payment systems | Expertise: Public policy & strategy
Sub-Saharan Africa, Agenda 2063, digital connectivity and gender: bridging digital gaps
The African Union’s Agenda 2063 recognizes the importance of widening access to ICT as a key enabler for enhancing economic development. In Cameroon this August, the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) is meeting in Yaoundé to discuss preparations for the World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 in Dubai.
The ATU will look at measures to promote “the rapid development of info-communications in Africa in order to achieve universal access and full inter-country connectivity”. In this briefing note, we explore where Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) stands today in regard of digital connectivity and highlight digital gaps, in particular the gender digital divide, that needs to be closed to achieve Agenda 2063.
We focus on two policies directed toward bridging digital gaps. The first is an example of a top-down policy involving procurement of mobile broadband coverage by government. We present a case study from Tanzania where reverse auctions have been used to allocate public subsidies to promote investment in mobile broadband.
The second intervention is bottom-up in flavour and emphasises how action on the ground is complementary to top-down policies. Our case study looks at Francophone West Africa where Vanessa Mbamarah successfully transformed her life as a result of free training in digital skills offered by a global tech company.
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