The Vice President of Botswana, the Honourable Dr Ponatshego H. Kedikilwe opened a meeting on Friday 06 September of the Governments of Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia to agree common priorities to accelerate the roll out of mobile broadband in the region, with the view of creating an additional 3.2 million jobs for Sub-Saharan Africa by 2020.
Ministers welcomed the positive impact of mobile on their digital economies. The mobile ecosystem currently contributes 6.3 per cent of GDP across Sub-Saharan Africa and could grow to 8.2 per cent by 2020 with the right policies to encourage investment.
Equally, mobile penetration could increase to 93 per cent of the region’s population by 2020, bringing mobile access to an additional 300 million citizens.
Signing a Communiqué, Ministers agreed to a series of measures including the creation of a Joint Task Force strengthening regional cooperation to support investment in mobile. “The provision of universal broadband access is vital in driving economic growth and improving the quality of life in Botswana and across Southern Africa,” said Honourable Nonofo E. Molefhi, Minister of Transport and Communication for Botswana. “With greater coordination between regional governments and between the public and private sectors, mobile broadband can play a critical role in closing the digital divide.”
“The GSMA congratulates the governments of Southern Africa on their commitment to provide an environment supportive of investment in mobile broadband,” said Tom Phillips, Chief Government and Regulatory Affairs Officer, GSMA. “Today’s meeting has created a solid foundation for further cooperation between the public and private sectors. The meeting demonstrated the close alignment of all parties regarding the goal of providing universal access to broadband services.”
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