14 Nov Africa: The ATU urges the nations of the continent to connect their rural areas
The African Telecommunications Union (ATU) urged the nations of the continent to connect their rural areas. According to Abdoulkarim Soumaila, the secretary general of the organization, nearly 69% of the African population still does not have access to the Internet and the majority of this percentage concerns rural areas.
Abdoulkarim Soumaila believes that making rural connectivity a reality requires governments and stakeholders to make it a priority. Secondly, it is necessary to “develop appropriate networks in a timely manner, gradually superimpose infrastructure and services until the ultimate goal of an ICT and knowledge-based society is achieved” . -He underlines.
South Africa’s Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Siyabonga Cwele said several obstacles still persist and hamper rural connectivity in Africa. Among these are among others, the refusal of operators to share their telecom infrastructure, the low deployment of optical fiber outside urban areas. But it is mainly the low level of digital literacy in rural areas, which obscures the commercial potential of these areas, which is presented as one of the main obstacles to rural connectivity.
For telecom operators, investing in the hinterland is only possible when the return on investment is guaranteed. But deploying the network in rural areas with low levels of digital literacy is a risk that many of them are not yet ready to take. The ATU militates, so that telecom operators already deploy connectivity to improve the living conditions of populations and thus create in these areas, the need that will ensure their return on investment.
Source: Agence Ecofin