UN Report – Sub-Saharan Africa to have 160 million mobile broadband connections by 2016


  • Task force report says that over the next 15 years, broadband’s contribution to sustainable development will only increase in pace with its growth globally
  • Mobile broadband connections are expected to increase almost four times from 2012 to 2016, increasing to over 160 million in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • The report offers 10 recommendations to meet sustainable development goals post 2015

The Broadband Commission for Digital Development, in collaboration with Ericsson has issued a report titled: “Transformational solutions for 2015 and Beyond.” The report looks at several aspects of broadband and its positive effects on people, environment and society while analyzing national broadband plans for 138 countries.

The report identifies best government practices and urges the private sector to include broadband in their national development agenda. It further states that mobile broadband connections are expected to increase almost four times from 2012 to 2016 to over 160 million in Sub-Saharan Africa, adding that mobile broadband has been driving financial inclusion through mobile banking and mobile money across the continent while supporting new ways of delivering healthcare in many countries.

The Broadband Commission for Digital Development is a joint initiative of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The task force which delivered the report was led by Hans Vestberg, President and CEO of Ericsson.

Hans Vestberg says: “As the post-2015 sustainable development agenda process evolved, we felt an urgent need to see action. We see so many opportunities for broadband to transform all aspects of society.  Technology evolves faster than policy, and we wanted to make a concerted effort to do everything we could to raise awareness of the potential.”

Dr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary General of the ITU, says: “Through this work the Broadband Commission would like to encourage the international community to recognize the need for transformative solutions in the post-2015 development agenda; and this report makes the case. The report presents for the first time new research showing how countries around the world use their national broadband plans as key policy instruments to leverage the full potential of broadband as an enabling infrastructure to accelerate sustainable development; yet there are also many missed opportunities, not least within poverty reduction and food security.”

Among the ten recommendations are “make broadband affordable for all,” and “deploy national development policies and plans to actively drive cross-sector integration of economic and social outcomes deliverable and scalable through ICT and broadband.”

Best practices are highlighted from five countries – Japan, Mexico, the Philippines Rwanda, and Sweden — that have successfully integrated a wide range of development goals into their national broadband plans. The task force credits a spirit of collaborating across all sectors of governments and including the private sector to realize shared aims.


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