Connecting Africa through Broadband: A Roadmap for Inclusive Growth

"To achieve universal access, Africa will need to bring about 1.1 billion more people online."

The Broadband for All report (“A Digital Infrastructure Moonshot for Africa”), one of the first to quantify the cost of bridging the broadband gap in North and Sub-Saharan Africa, calls for urgent action to close the internet access gap while providing a roadmap and ac... view more


Part 1: Digital revolution has come to Africa, bringing with it a bright future for the world's youngest population. As a leader in digital banking and the fastest growing telecom market on the planet, economic, creative and business possibilities never possible earlier are becoming real. A device as simple as a smart phone is now a tool for empowerment. But this window of opportunity needs to be opened further to include the changing needs of a vast continent...


Part 2: What is the transformation that is needed for the digital economy for Africa? Aurelie Adam Soule Zoumarou, Minister of Digital Economy and Communications of Benin talks about how the country leverages digital technologies, which have the ability to create economic empowerment and jobs to the young people of Benin. 


Part 3: Can we actually connect Africa by 2030? How can the private and public sector come together to do this? It requires disruptive thinking on not just the technology and business side but also on the government and regulation side. 


Part 4: The case for broadband connectivity's economic and social impact is absolutely clear. The achievement of the 2030 agenda (17 goals) and the 2063 agenda for Africa will depend on broadband connectivity. 83% of Africa already has broadband plans, there is 2G everywhere and 70% of them have access to 3G. But only 30% have access to online...


Part 5: How do we make development work, not for some but for all? What happens when the broadband connection arrives? How do we invest in people's ability in a society that is already unequal? Without broadband you cannot think about digital economy but there needs to be entire ecosystem that needs to grow around broadband infrastructure. 


Part 6: For Africa, it is not only about broadband reach but about the quality of living, about ensuring that our young people are engaged in the global economy and about each one of us enjoying a high quality of life. There is no need to disrupt existing systems but there is a need to create new systems. 


Part 7: The challenge today - 200 million people need to come online, 1 billion users need to be reached by 2030 and $100 billion must be invested. All these are big numbers about infrastructure and about big money but how are we creating jobs today and preparing our youth to the jobs of tomorrow? 


Part 8: Digital economy adds to the GDP of a nation to above 2%. Broadband for All Report suggests that a digital economy creates more than 3% jobs and in Europe the figure is above 10%. If it is a no-brainer, why is the African continent lagging behind, specifically since there isn't even legacy infrastructure? 


Part 9: How was PiggyVest able to innovate in Africa's largest economy? Running a tech start-up in Nigeria and across Africa has never been easier. As a start-up founder, one of the biggest challenges starting-up is to get funding.   


Part 10: The Venture Capitalists have come in to help start-ups scale. But some have come in, stolen ideas and developed them in Europe and brought them back as e-commerce business in Africa. How do we implement financial models and change regulations and policies crucial to create investments from the private sector?  


Part 11: The gender equality gap is widening. On a continent where women continue to be the face of poverty and equality, how are we going to get this right? If our aim is to reach universal broadband access by 2030, what are some of the mechanisms that we have put in place specifically to target the youth and women in rural areas?


Part 12: Why is there less than 15% internet penetration? How do we support young people who find the cost prohibiting when it comes to starting and running a thriving business? What are we doing about the privacy of data that will be collected by the increasing number of Africans that are brought online? 

About the Presenters

Lerato Mbele (Moderator)

Presenter, BBC World News


Amani Abou-Zeid

Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, African Union Commission

Makhtar Diop

Vice President, Infrastructure, World Bank


Achim Steiner

Administrator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)


Doreen Bogdan-Martin

Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau


Peter Ib


Aurelie Adam Soule Zoumarou

Minister of Digital Economy and Communications for Benin