The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI – www.a4ai.org), a global coalition working to make broadband affordable for all, has yesterday signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Mozambican government.
Mozambique becomes the first SADC country to join A4AI, and the third developing country to sign an MOU with the Alliance, joining Nigeria and Ghana. Today’s announcement means that A4AI and stakeholders across Mozambique will work closely together to drive down the cost of Internet access via policy and regulatory reform.
The MOU was signed at the AITEC Southern Africa ICT Forum in Maputo, and Pedro Augusto Ingles, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications inked the document on behalf of Mozambique.
He was joined on stage by Sonia Jorge, Executive Director of A4AI, country representatives from Nigeria, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, and other A4AI member organisations including the Mozambique-based Science Innovation and ICT Research Institute (SIITRI), Google, Internet Solutions and IREX.
Launched in late 2013, A4AI has already grown to become a coalition of more than 50 private sector, public sector, and civil society organizations who have come together to advance the shared aim of affordable access to both mobile and fixed-line Internet in developing countries.
The Alliance’s primary focus is to reach the UN Broadband Commission Broadband Target of entry-level broadband services priced at less than 5% of average monthly income. A4AI has a dedicated focus on policy and regulatory tools to drive change. Members include Google, Omidyar Network, UK DFID and USAID.
Pedro Augusto Ingles, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications, said: “The signature of this MOU represents yet another step that the Ministry of Transport and Communications is taking in order to ensure affordable Internet for the entire population. We hope that this partnership with the Alliance for Affordable Internet, World Wide Web Foundation and SIITRI will spark deep collaboration between private sector, public sector and civil society actors to drive down the cost of broadband for Mozambicans.”
Sonia Jorge, Executive Director of A4AI said: “We are delighted to welcome Mozambique as a formal member of A4AI. The country has made great strides in infrastructure and policy development in recent years, but much hard work still lies ahead. Latest figures from the ITU suggest that a fixed-line broadband connection costs around one and a half times the average monthly salary for a Mozambican, whilst a basic mobile broadband package costs between 40% and 66% of monthly income. We are confident that by working closely with the government, private companies and civil society organisations, we can help to drive prices downwards and unlock the immense social and economic benefits of the Internet for ordinary Mozambicans.”
Prof. Dr. Eng. Venancio Simao Massingue, Founder of SIITRI and former Minister of Science and Technology, Mozambique, said: “Our vision and determination ensured that Mozambique was one of the first African countries to become part of internet family in the early 90’s. Today, the priority is to make sure that Mozambique finishes the last mile and ensures affordable access to the internet for all. Partners and friends such as A4AI are vital. Hand in hand with Mozambican entrepreneurs and innovators, they can help to ensure that all of Mozambique’s people reap the benefits of the global information society and knowledge economy.”