Digital ECOWAS: Pathways to investment, innovation and inclusion
While the number of mobile internet users in West Africa is continually increasing, three quarters of the population remain unconnected and are classified as digitally excluded. The longer digital exclusion persists, the longer it takes people (and regions) to catch up. Digital exclusion can quickly result, therefore, in economic exclusion.
Addressing and reducing digital exclusion requires a significant amount of investment. As the unconnected typically live in rural areas where subscriber acquisition costs are high, the economics of network rollout for service providers are very challenging.
By removing unnecessary obstacles that may reside in regulatory frameworks, governments can encourage and enable further investment from service providers, extending connectivity and fuelling digital inclusion in ECOWAS Member States. This study provides recommendations for a path forward.