6 September 2013, Kasane, Botswana: Today, the Vice President of Botswana, the Honourable Dr Ponatshego H. Kedikilwe, opened a meeting 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 citizens1.

Signing a Communiqué2, 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.”

– ENDS –

Notes to the Editors:

1Source of all data: BCG

2The Communiqué includes a number of key commitments, including:

  • A new Joint Task Force that will co-ordinate the efforts of governments, regulators, mobile operators and the GSMA;
  • A Manifesto for Digital Inclusion;
  • A Review of Policy and Regulation that will highlight the necessary reforms, additional spectrum requirements and harmonisation of policy across the region in order to encourage long-term investment in mobile broadband infrastructure;
  • An eGovernment Plan, developed in collaboration with a broad range of government agencies and departments, that will identify how online government services can be developed in line with increased broadband access; and
  • A GSMA-developed Capacity Building Programme that will provide the region’s policy makers and regulators with intelligence and practical experiences from other markets across the world.

About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Spanning more than 220 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators with more than 230 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in industry sectors such as financial services, healthcare, media, transport and utilities. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as the Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Expo. 

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