ITU's 151st anniversary moves Africa
Published on 19th May 2016
On 17 May 2016 the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) celebrated its 151st anniversary and has chosen 'ICT entrepreneurship for social impact' as its theme for the year. Activity in key regions across Africa suggests the continent intends to be a part of the global technology movement.
As the ITU contemplates how ICT start-ups and SMEs can work to connect the world, several events in Africa reflected a determined stance to contribute.
The events served to commemorate World Telecommunication and Information Society Day and the establishment of the ITU, and reiterate the essence of "pursuing the goal of bringing the rest of the world's people online," - in the words of ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao, "so that they too can access and create extraordinary social and economic benefits."
Highlights included the beginning of consultation on the introduction of a policy that would allow for domestic roaming in Ghana and also enable mobile subscribers to switch networks without porting own number.
An academic from the Ghana Telecom University College, Dr. Ezer Boateng said the policy will help new entrants in the telecom industry to leverage on the infrastructure of existing telcos.
Mauritius staged a two-day workshop to raise awareness about the Internet of Things (IoT) and how the country can better leverage this growing tech influence.
Paradigm Initiative Nigeria used the day to launch its report on the state of internet freedom in Nigeria. The report's key highlight is the rising Internet access in the West African country - detailing an increase from 38% in 2013 to 45.1% in 2015 making Nigeria's population the largest of Internet users in Africa.
Broadband penetration rose from 6% in 2013 to 10% in 2015 albeit at an average low internet speed rate of 2.8Mbps compared to the global average of 4.5Mbps.
The report cites the indifference of a large segment of society to digital rights issues, businesses taking a back seat in the campaign for Internet freedom, increasing budgetary allocation for surveillance equipment, and wrongly held assumptions and perceptions of the Internet as non-legislative threats to internet freedom in Nigeria.