by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – GREATER innovation from telecommunications and technology companies is vital to drive the expansion of internet connectivity in Africa.
This is according to new research for blockchain-based mobile network operator, World Mobile.
Its study with African business leaders found nearly two out of three (65 percent) worry that a lack of infrastructure is stopping traditional telecom companies from delivering the internet connectivity the continent needs.
However, they are optimistic that innovation from new entrants will achieve dramatic improvements.
Nearly three-quarters (71 percent) say new approaches are expanding internet connectivity to hard-to-reach areas more affordably.
The study with African business leaders from companies with combined annual revenues of more than US$6,75 billion found that executives believe the expansion of the African middle class coupled with government support is driving demand for innovation.
Two-thirds (66 percent) believe connectivity will improve over the next five years with a quarter (24 percent) expecting dramatic improvements.
The research was among senior executives at companies based in Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania.
Micky Watkins, Chief Executive Officer for World Mobile, said there was growing confidence that Africa was on the verge of a revolution in internet connectivity.
Innovators are responding to the huge growth opportunities across the continent and government support.
However, research detects some scepticism with more than a quarter of senior executives saying they expect no change in connectivity over the next five years and pointing to potential roadblocks such as bureaucracy and a lack of innovation.
“Improving internet connectivity is vital to delivering the potential of Africa, which is not just good for global economic growth but also for improving living standards across the continent and we are focused on playing our part in supporting innovation,” Watkins said.
World Mobile is working with the government in Zanzibar where it is launching a unique hybrid mobile network delivering connectivity supported by low altitude platform balloons.
– CAJ News