Enhancing ICT development and connectivity in Africa Erik Habers Head of Cooperation EU Delegation Nairobi Background • ICT are proven drivers of innovation for sustainable development, since: • They allow for a rapid and free flow of information, increasing economic efficiency, ensuring decisions • They offer solutions to employment, health, education, protection, environment, governance, commerce... • A 10% increase in internet access has been shown to lead to an 1.2% increase in several countries GDP MDG 8: 'In cooperation with the private sector, make available benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications' (Plus indirect effect in MDGs 2, 4, 5 and 6) Challenges • Growing Digital Divide: • Great disparity among countries • Access limited in many parts of Africa Main reasons • Low collaboration South-South • Intra-African communications often routed through Europe • High prices • Little competition • Lack of political and economic stability and coherent policies hampering private investments EU Response Strategy • Enhance the bilateral policy dialogue • Assist to the development of an inclusive information society in Africa • Focus on preparing the enabling environment (regulation, interconnections…) for private sector investments (ICT is not a focal sector in EU development policy, but a crosscutting modality with applications in several other sectors) EU priorities for ICT development in Africa 1. Harmonisation and alignment of e-communications policies and regulations with EU framework 2. Enabling the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting and the regulation of the Digital Dividend • 3. Establishment and interconnection of research and education networks and connection to the European network GÉANT • 4. Enhancement of ICT capacity building (for ALL, i.e. citizens, governments, private sector etc.) Priority 1: Harmonisation and aligment of e-communications policies and regulations in developing countries with EU framework Objective: Improved regulations promoting fairness, transparency, human rights and freedom of expression Result: A fair and transparent enabling environment, improving ICT access for citizens, business and organisations Priority 2: Enabling the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting in Africa and the regulation of the Digital Dividend. Objective: Creation a new huge market of online applications and services contributing in this way to inclusive growth, employment and sustainable development in Africa Results: Development/convergence of relevant policies and regulations in domains defining the digital dividend regulation/management challenge, like radio spectrum policy and management, cross-border radio frequency management, digital media/broadcasting policy, broadband policy etc. Priority 3: Establishment and interconnection of research and education networks and connection to European network GÉANT Objective: Increase in research cooperation and regional computing capacity, generate scientific excellence, bridge the digital divide, reduce 'brain drain', contribute to economic and social well-being Results: Strenghtening of cooperation between research communities. Provide capacity to meet high-volume needs of other not-for-profit sectors. Influence the development of a telecom market and regulatory environment reducing the costs and enabling cross-border traffic Example: AfricaConnect project • Establishes a high capacity internet network for research and education in Southern and Eastern Africa • Improves connectivity and collaboration within the region and with the rest of the world through the interconnection with the pan-European research network GÉANT • Contributes to the development of education and research in Sub-Saharan Africa Priority 4: Enhancement of ICT capacity building (for ALL, citizens, governments, private sector etc.) Objective: To reduce the digital divide, through a better understanding of the new technologies, the roll-out of broadband, the deployment of efficient ICT systems adapted to local needs and the promotion of free and open access to the internet Results: Roll-out of broadband connectivity, deployment of efficient and resilient ICT systems and promotion of free and open access to the internet Increasing engagement • Scaling-up of ongoing initiatives • Exploiting synergies between the EU Digital Agenda and the AU ICT development frameworks • Fostering deployment of innovative e-services to enhance interconnections •THANK YOU • for • Your Attention!