ICT ‘to remain key driver of African economy’

fibreoptic Global Marine PhotosA great deal of the growth experienced on the continent can be attributed to the numerous fibre optic cable systems being installed. (Image source: Global Marine Photos/Flickr)As Africa continues to outperform developed economies in terms of growth, ICT will retain a central role in sustaining this global dominance, according to South African firm Internet Solutions

Speaking at the Submarine Networks World conference in Johannesburg on 28 May 2013, Sean Nourse, executive for connectivity services at Internet Solutions, said a great deal of the growth experienced on the continent can be attributed to the numerous fibre optic cable systems that run along the east and west coasts of Africa.

Nourse said, “ICT is a key socio-economic driver and contributes significantly to the GDP of a region. The vast investment that is going into technology and communication infrastructure across Africa is also helping to drive the economies of various countries, thereby accelerating growth and development.”

The majority of this investment is going into large-scale fibre infrastructure projects aimed at harnessing the massive amounts of international bandwidth available from the various under-sea fibre optic cable systems, Nourse said.

“The SEACOM, TEAMS and Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy) along the east coast of Africa, along with the West African Cable System (WACS), Main One and the SAT-3/SAFE cable systems along the west coast have increased international broadband capacity exponentially,” he explained.

“These cable systems are also a long way from reaching saturation, which bodes well for future growth. Some systems are no more than three years old and are probably using as little as 10 per cent of their total capacity. As such it is only the distribution to the end-user that is lacking,” he added.

Nourse claimed that high speed and capacity bandwidth in Africa is booming and the cost of providing this level of connectivity is already reportedly coming down.
“All of these factors are finally making Africa’s long-awaited Internet era a reality,” he noted.

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