WB-supported programme to improve Africa's connectivity

Tuesday 15 May 2007

Broadband connectivity is still poor in Africa. Since global optical fibre broadband infrastructure has not yet been introduced here, people in eastern and southern Africa cannot afford to make international calls. The Africa Regional Communications Infrastructure Programme (rcip) supported by the World Bank, seeks to improve international connectivity in Africa. The us $424-million programme, announced in Washington dc on April 2, seeks to cut prices for international capacity. In the first stage of the plan, Kenya, Burundi and Madagascar will get of us $164.5 million. rcip will later include other African countries.

All the capitals and major cities in eastern and southern Africa will be linked to "competitively priced high-bandwidth connectivity", says a World Bank report.The report highlights Africa's plight in the global communication sector--the region accounts for less than 1 per cent of the world's international bandwidth capacity. In Africa, international wholesale bandwidth prices are 20-40 times higher than in the us. The bank says education and health in Africa will benefit from rcip, which will boost investment opportunities.

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