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Infrastructure Development

It's Time for Transformation

South Africa: Future African Internet Leader

South Africa and Morocco could become leaders in driving the growth of the Internet in Africa, according to a new report by global consulting firm McKinsey which predicts that the Internet's contribution to economic growth on the continent will increase dramatically over the next decade. 
According to the report, released on Wednesday, the continent, following a decade of rapid urbanization and strong economic growth, is going digital. "While just 16 percent of the continent's one-billion people are online, that picture is changing rapidly," says McKinsey. Africa's "iGDP" - the percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) that is contributed by Internet-related activity - currently stands at 1.1 percent, just over half the levels seen in other emerging markets and well below the average of 3.7 percent in developed economies.

South Africans to play key role in SKA design

South African scientists are to lead two of the 10 teams involved in the design of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) radio telescope, the international SKA Organization announced on Monday. The SKA's global partners have committed €120-million to the three-year design phase, which will involve more than 350 scientists representing 18 nations and drawn from nearly 100 institutions. The SKA project is an international effort to build the world's largest radio telescope, to be co-located in South Africa and Australia.

Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy)

EASSy is the highest capacity system serving sub-Saharan Africa, with a 4.72 terabit per second (Tbit/s), 2 fiber-pair configuration.[1] It is the first to deliver direct connectivity between east Africa and Europe / North America. It is the only system with built-in resilience end-to-end. EASSy interconnects with multiple international submarine cable networks for onward connectivity to Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia. 

WACS (West Africa Cable System)

WACS (West Africa Cable System) is a submarine communications cable linking South Africa with the United Kingdom along the west coast of Africa. The cable consists of four fiber pairs[1] and is 14,530 km in length, linking from Yzerfontein in the Western Cape of South Africa to London in the United Kingdom. It has 14 landing points, 12 along the western coast of Africa (including Cape Verde and Canary Islands) and 2 in Europe(Portugal and England) completed on land by a cable termination station in London. 

Internet in Africa

The Internet in Africa is limited by a lower penetration rate when compared to the rest of the world. Moreover, Africa itself exhibits an inner digital divide, with most Internet activity and infrastructure concentrated in South Africa, Morocco, Egypt as well as smaller economies like Mauritius and Seychelles. While the telecommunications market in Africa is still in its early stages of development, it is also one of the fastest-growing in the world. In the 2000s, mobile telephony in Africahas been booming, and mobile telephony is now substantially more widespread than fixed line telephony. Telecommunication companies in Africa are looking at Broadband Wireless Access technologies as the key to make Internet available to the population at large. Projects are being completed that aim at the realization of Internet backbones that might help cut the cost of bandwidth in African countries.

Energy, transport, ICT and water resources: key areas for African economy

African leaders launched a new programme for infrastructure development in Africa (PIDA). Led by the African Union, New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and African Development Bank (ADB), the initiative has a budget of several billion dollars. The overall goal of PIDA is to promote socio-economic development and poverty reduction in Africa through improved access to integrated regional and continental infrastructure networks and services.

Programme for infrastructure development in Africa will bring together and merge various continental infrastructure initiatives such as the NEPAD Short Term Action Plan, the NEAD Medium to Long Term Strategic Framework (MLTSF), and the AU Infrastructure Master Plans initiatives into one coherent program for the entire continent. 

The objective of the PIDA is to establish a framework strategy for infrastructure development at the regional and continental level covering all the four key sectors of Transport, Energy, Trans-boundary Water, and ICT. PIDA will be the AU/NEPAD key planning/programming document guiding the continental infrastructure development agenda, policies, and investments priorities in the key sectors for 2011 – 2030.

The ADB will be responsible for implementing the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) through its department of regional integration. The Bank’s role as Executing Agency covers the responsibility for contractual, financial, technical and administrative management of the programme including responsibility for procurement procedures, in conformity with its existing regulations, budget management and disbursements.

The PIDA is supposed to be managed by the regional economic communities. They will work closely with the respective Member States, specialized agencies of the AU and sectoral organizations. The PIDA budget, estimated at 7.8 million Euros, is financed by the European Union, Islamic Development Bank, the African Fund for Water and the New Partnership for Africa's Development.

Fast Facts

Only one in three rural Africans has access to an all-season road; more than 20 percent of the population in Cameroon, Ghana, Mauritania, Niger, and Tanzania must travel more than two kilometers to their primary water supply; African consumers pay twice as much for basic services as people elsewhere in the world; and a monthly basket of prepaid mobile telephone services costs $12 in Africa but only $2 in South Asia. These are examples of Africa’s infrastructure challenges